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The challenge of measuring hunger

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Author Info

  • De Weerdt, Joachim
  • Beegle, Kathleen
  • Friedman,, Jed
  • Gibson, John

Abstract

There is widespread interest in the number of hungry people in the world and trends in hunger. Current global counts rely on combining each country's total food balance with information on distribution patterns from household consumption expenditure surveys. Recent research has advocated for calculating hunger numbers directly from these same surveys. For either approach, embedded in this effort are a number of important details about how household surveys are designed and how these data are then used. Using a survey experiment in Tanzania, this study finds great fragility in hunger counts stemming from alternative survey designs. As a consequence, comparable and valid hunger numbers will be lacking until more effort is made to either harmonize survey designs or better understand the consequences of survey design variation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6736.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6736

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Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry; Food Security; Nutrition; Rural Poverty Reduction; Regional Economic Development;

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References

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  1. Angus Deaton & Salman Zaidi, 2002. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14101, October.
  2. Caeyers, Bet & Chalmers, Neil & De Weerdt, Joachim, 2012. "Improving consumption measurement and other survey data through CAPI: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 19-33.
  3. Bart Capéau & Stefan Dercon, 2004. "Prices, unit values and local measurement units in rural surveys: an econometric approach with an application to poverty measurement in Ethiopia," Public Economics Working Paper Series puvlmurs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
  4. Svedberg, Peter, 1999. "841 Million Undernourished?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(12), pages 2081-2098, December.
  5. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Friedman, Jed & Gibson, John, 2010. "Methods of household consumption measurement through surveys : experimental results from Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5501, The World Bank.
  6. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2008. "The developing world is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4703, The World Bank.
  7. John Gibson & Bonggeun Kim, 2012. "Testing the Infrequent Purchases Model Using Direct Measurement of Hidden Consumption from Food Stocks," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(1), pages 257-270.
  8. Smith, Lisa C. & Alderman, Harold & Aduayom, Dede, 2006. "Food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa: new estimates from household expenditure surveys," Research reports 146, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Behrman, Jere R & Deolalikar, Anil B, 1987. "Will Developing Country Nutrition Improve with Income? A Case Study for Rural South India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 492-507, June.
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