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Do Prices and Attributes Explain International Differences in Food Purchases?

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  • Pierre Dubois
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Aviv Nevo

Abstract

Food purchases differ substantially across countries. We use detailed household level data from the US, France and the UK to (i) document these differences; (ii) estimate a demand system for food and nutrients, and (iii) simulate counterfactual choices if households faced prices and nutritional characteristics from other countries. We find that differences in prices and characteristics are important and can explain some difference (e.g., US-France difference in caloric intake), but generally cannot explain many of the compositional patterns by themselves. Instead, it seems an interaction between the economic environment and differences in preferences is needed to explain cross country differences.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18750.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Publication status: published as Pierre Dubois & Rachel Griffith & Aviv Nevo, 2014. "Do Prices and Attributes Explain International Differences in Food Purchases?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 832-67, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18750

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  1. David Atkin, 2013. "Trade, Tastes, and Nutrition in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1629-63, August.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Yuhui Zheng, 2009. "Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight," NBER Working Papers 15096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sara Bleich & David Cutler & Christopher Murray & Alyce Adams, 2007. "Why Is The Developed World Obese?," NBER Working Papers 12954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Seale, James L., Jr. & Regmi, Anita & Bernstein, Jason, 2003. "International Evidence On Food Consumption Patterns," Technical Bulletins 33580, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  6. Yang Lu & Dana Goldman, 2010. "The Effects of Relative Food Prices on Obesity — Evidence from China: 1991-2006," NBER Working Papers 15720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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