IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jfpoli/v50y2015icp53-67.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The great Indian calorie debate: Explaining rising undernourishment during India’s rapid economic growth

Author

Listed:
  • Smith, Lisa C.

Abstract

The prevalence of undernourishment in India – the percent of people consuming insufficient calories to meet their energy requirements – has been rising steadily since the mid 1980s. Paradoxically, this period has been one of robust poverty reduction and rapid economic growth. The reasons for the apparent reductions in calorie consumption underlying increased undernourishment have been the subject of intense debate both within India and internationally. This paper critically reviews this debate, finding that is has taken place outside of the context of India’s recent nutrition and epidemiological transitions, which appear to have brought with them increased, not decreased, food consumption. The debate has also taken place under the unchallenged assumption that the data on which the conflicting trends are based, collected as part of the country’s Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (HCESs), are reliable. The paper provides supporting literature and empirical evidence that a probable key source of the calorie decline is incomplete collection of data on food consumed away from peoples’ homes, which is widespread and rapidly increasing. Complete measurement of this food source in the HCESs of all developing countries is vital for accurate measurement of both undernourishment and poverty – and for resolving the Indian calorie debate.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, Lisa C., 2015. "The great Indian calorie debate: Explaining rising undernourishment during India’s rapid economic growth," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 53-67.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:50:y:2015:i:c:p:53-67
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2014.10.011
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919214001535
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raghav Gaiha & Raghbendra Jha & Vani S. Kulkarni, 2009. "How Pervasive is Eating Out in India?," ASARC Working Papers 2009-17, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    2. Senauer, Benjamin, 2006. "The Growing Market for High-Value Food Products in Developing and Transition Countries," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 37(01), March.
    3. Reardon, Thomas & Gulati, Ashok, 2008. "The rise of supermarkets and their development implications: International experience relevant for India," IFPRI discussion papers 752, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Simon Maxwell & Rachel Slater, 2003. "Food Policy Old and New," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21(5-6), pages 531-553, December.
    5. Ogundari, Kolawole & Abdulai, Awudu, 2013. "Examining the heterogeneity in calorie–income elasticities: A meta-analysis," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 119-128.
    6. Bouis, Howarth & Haddad, Lawrence & Kennedy, Eileen, 1992. "Does it matter how we survey demand for food?: Evidence from Kenya and the Philippines," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 349-360, October.
    7. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Friedman, Jed & Gibson, John, 2012. "Methods of household consumption measurement through surveys: Experimental results from Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 3-18.
    8. Shahidur R. Khandker & Gayatri B. Koolwal & Hussain A. Samad, 2010. "Handbook on Impact Evaluation : Quantitative Methods and Practices," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2693, July.
    9. Hengyun Ma & Jikun Huang & Frank Fuller & Scott Rozelle, 2006. "Getting Rich and Eating Out: Consumption of Food Away from Home in Urban China," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 54(1), pages 101-119, March.
    10. Prabhu Pingali & Yasmeen Khwaja, 2004. "Globalization of Indian Diets and the Transformation of Food Supply Systems," Working Papers 04-05, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
    11. Salois, Matthew J. & Tiffin, J. Richard & Balcombe, Kelvin George, 2011. "Impact of Income on Calorie and Nutrient Intakes: A Cross-Country Analysis," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103647, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Todd, Jessica E. & Mancino, Lisa & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2010. "The Impact of Food Away from Home on Adult Diet Quality," Economic Research Report 58298, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    13. Mancino, Lisa & Todd, Jessica & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2009. "Separating what we eat from where: Measuring the effect of food away from home on diet quality," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 557-562, December.
    14. Bouis, Howarth E. & Haddad, Lawrence J., 1992. "Are estimates of calorie-income fxelasticities too high? : A recalibration of the plausible range," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 333-364, October.
    15. Gregory Clark & Michael Huberman & Peter H. Lindert, 1995. "A British food puzzle, 1770–1850," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 215-237, May.
    16. Isaias Hazarmabeth Salgado-Ugarte & Makoto Shimizu & Toru Taniuchi, 1996. "Practical rules for bandwidth selection in univariate density estimation," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 5(27).
    17. Raghav Gaiha & Raghbendra Jha & Vani S. Kulkarni, 2010. "Affluence, Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases in India," ASARC Working Papers 2010-08, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    18. Linh Vu Hoang, 2009. "Analysis of Calorie and Micronutrient Consumption in Vietnam," Working Papers 14, Development and Policies Research Center (DEPOCEN), Vietnam.
    19. Gale, H. Frederick, Jr. & Huang, Kuo S., 2007. "Demand For Food Quantity And Quality In China," Economic Research Report 7252, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    20. Deepankar Basu & Amit Basole, 2012. "The Calorie Consumption Puzzle in India: An Empirical Investigation," Working Papers wp285, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    21. Angus Deaton & Valerie Kozel, 2005. "Data and Dogma: The Great Indian Poverty Debate," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 177-199.
    22. Desai, Sonalde & Dubey, Amaresh & Joshi, Brij Lal & Sen, Mitali & Sharif, Abusaleh & Vanneman, Reeve, 2010. "Human Development in India: Challenges for a Society in Transition," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198065128.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Yu, Xiaohua & Abler, David, 2016. "Matching food with mouths: A statistical explanation to the abnormal decline of per capita food consumption in rural China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 36-43.
    2. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:72:y:2017:i:c:p:81-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. John Gibson, 2016. "Poverty Measurement: We Know Less than Policy Makers Realize," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 430-442, September.
    4. Gibson, John & Boe-Gibson, Geua & Stichbury, Glen, 2015. "Urban land expansion in India 1992–2012," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 100-113.
    5. Balarajan, Yarlini & Reich, Michael R., 2016. "Political economy of child nutrition policy: A qualitative study of India’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 88-98.
    6. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:72:y:2017:i:c:p:43-52 is not listed on IDEAS

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:50:y:2015:i:c:p:53-67. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.