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Household Engel curve analysis for food, Beijing, China


  • James L. Seale
  • Junfei Bai
  • Thomas I. Wahl
  • Bryan T. Lohmar


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to analyze the income sensitivity of food consumption in Beijing, China, using an original household survey data set collected by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Design/methodology/approach - An Engel curve model is fit to the household data of nine food categories and 35 food items, and both conditional and unconditional expenditure elasticities of demand are calculated and reported for the nine food groups and the 35 food items. Findings - Working's model fits the data well, and the elasticity estimates are all reasonable in terms of economic theory, size and signs. The results indicate a relative large range in income sensitivity among the nine food groups and 35 food items in response to changes in household food expenditure levels. Originality/value - The research analyzes unique and rich urban household survey data collected by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and is the most comprehensive analysis to date in terms of the number of food items studied for which expenditure elasticities are calculated. These elasticities may be used to study household food consumption patterns, to calculate caloric or nutrient elasticities, to study obesity in China, to study policy prescriptions in terms of taxes and subsidies on food, to infer welfare and affluence, and may be used as inputs into econometric models such as those used by the World Bank, IFPRI, and others.

Suggested Citation

  • James L. Seale & Junfei Bai & Thomas I. Wahl & Bryan T. Lohmar, 2012. "Household Engel curve analysis for food, Beijing, China," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 4(4), pages 427-439, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:caerpp:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:427-439

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    Cited by:

    1. Amoakon, Joel & Ejimakor, Godfrey & Hardy, Deric, 2016. "Exploring the Food Expenditure Patterns of College Students," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 230666, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.


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