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Sharing the pie: An analysis of undernutrition and individual consumption in Bangladesh

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  • Brown, Caitlin
  • Calvi, Rossella
  • Penglase, Jacob

Abstract

Anti-poverty policies often aim to reach poor individuals by targeting poor households. However, intra-household inequality may mean some poor individuals reside in non-poor households. Using Bangladeshi data, we first show that undernourished individuals are spread across the household per-capita expenditure distribution. We then quantify the extent of total consumption inequality within families. We apply a novel approach to identify individual-level consumption within a collective household model and use the structural estimates to compute poverty rates separately for women, men, boys, girls, and the elderly. We find that women (especially older women) and children (later-born children in particular) face significant probabilities of living in poverty even in households with per-capita expenditure above the poverty line. This poverty misclassification is severe, as one third of poor individuals in our sample live in non-poor families.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Caitlin & Calvi, Rossella & Penglase, Jacob, 2021. "Sharing the pie: An analysis of undernutrition and individual consumption in Bangladesh," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:200:y:2021:i:c:s0047272721000967
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2021.104460
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intra-household resource allocation; Poverty; Collective model; Undernutrition; Bangladesh;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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