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The Demand for Food and Calories

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  • Subramanian, Shankar
  • Deaton, Angus

Abstract

The authors investigate nutrition and expenditure in rural Maharashtra in India. They estimate that the elasticity of calorie consumption with respect to total expenditure is 0.3-0.5, a range that is in accord with conventional wisdom. The elasticity declines only slowly with levels of living and is far from the value of zero suggested by a recent revisionist literature. In these Indian data, the calories necessary for a day's activity cost less than 5 percent of the daily wage, which makes it implausible that income is constrained by nutrition rather than the other way around. Copyright 1996 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Subramanian, Shankar & Deaton, Angus, 1996. "The Demand for Food and Calories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 133-162, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:104:y:1996:i:1:p:133-62
    DOI: 10.1086/262020
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    1. 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.
    2. Bouis, Howarth E., 1994. "The effect of income on demand for food in poor countries: Are our food consumption databases giving us reliable estimates?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 199-226, June.
    3. T. N. Srinivasan, 1994. "Destitution: A Discourse," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1842-1855, December.
    4. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
    5. Ravallion, Martin, 1990. "Income Effects on Undernutrition," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(3), pages 489-515, April.
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