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A review of hunger indices and methods to monitor country commitment to fighting hunger

  • Masset, Edoardo
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    Several indices measuring hunger and progress in achieving hunger eradication have been proposed in the literature. This paper reviews existing hunger indices and critically assesses their quality against a number of desirable properties. Hunger indices are found to be unsatisfactory in a number of ways: they ignore distributional issues; they neglect the occurrence of food and health shocks; and are sometimes based on unreliable data. Anthropometric measurements, stunting in particular, emerge as powerful indicators of hunger and are ideal for addressing a number of policy relevant issues. The paper also introduces a conceptual framework for an index measuring country commitment to fighting hunger. The constitutive elements of this index are illustrated: political will, anti-hunger policies and programmes. Suggestions are made on how a commitment index can be built and what are the data requirements.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919210001211
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2011)
    Issue (Month): S1 ()
    Pages: S102-S108

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:s1:p:s102-s108
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2010.11.007
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

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    1. Svedberg, Peter, 2002. "Undernutrition Overestimated," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 5-36, October.
    2. Andy Sumner & Claire Melamed, 2010. "Introduction – The MDGs and Beyond: Pro‐poor Policy in a Changing World," IDS Bulletin, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(1), pages 1-6, 01.
    3. Mark McGillivray & Howard White, 1993. "Measuring development? The UNDP's human development index," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(2), pages 183-192, 03.
    4. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Econometric Causality," International Statistical Review, International Statistical Institute, vol. 76(1), pages 1-27, 04.
    5. Svedberg, Peter, 2000. "Poverty and Undernutrition: Theory, Measurement, and Policy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292685, December.
    6. Gentilini, Ugo & Webb, Patrick, 2008. "How are we doing on poverty and hunger reduction? A new measure of country performance," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 521-532, December.
    7. Dasgupta, Partha, 2001. "Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247882, December.
    8. Wiesmann, Doris, 2006. "A global hunger index: measurement concept, ranking of countries, and trends," FCND discussion papers 212, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. 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).
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