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Changes in food consumption expenditure in Malaysia

Listed author(s):
  • Akira Ishida

    (Shimane University, Department of Regional Development, Faculty of Life and Environmental Science, 1060 Nishikawatsu, Matsue, Shimane 690-8504, Japan. E-mail:

  • Siong-Hook Law

    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia,, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. E-mail:

  • Yoshihisa Aita

    (Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 2-2-1, Nishigahara, Kita-ku, Tokyo 114-0024, Japan. E-mail:

In rapidly developing Asian countries, food consumption has drastically expanded and diversified. Trends in Malaysian food consumption are typical of those of developing countries. The overriding objective of this article, therefore, was to explore the structural changes in food consumption expenditure in West Malaysia after the early 1970s when its food consumption diversified under rapid economic growth and urbanization. We have estimated Engel's expenditure elasticities for food items using aggregated cross-sectional data from the Household Expenditure Survey. Our estimated results clearly indicate that while the expenditure elasticities of away-from-home food, and the elasticities of at-home expenditures for meat, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products are relatively high, those of rice and sugar are low. This suggests that the food expenditure structure in West Malaysia has diversified, adding meat, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products to the most dominant food item, rice. Moreover, it is likely that the share of food away from home will increase with income enhancement and urbanization due mainly to economic growth. [EconLit citations: Q11 (Aggregate Demand and Supply)]. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Agribusiness 19: 61-76, 2003.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Agribusiness.

Volume (Year): 19 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 61-76

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Handle: RePEc:wly:agribz:v:19:y:2003:i:1:p:61-76
DOI: 10.1002/agr.10038
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  1. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
  2. Salem, A B Z & Mount, T D, 1974. "A Convenient Descriptive Model of Income Distribution: The Gamma Density," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(6), pages 1115-1127, November.
  3. Kakwani, Nanak, 1978. "A new method of estimating Engel elasticities," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 103-110, August.
  4. Rae, Allan N., 1998. "The effects of expenditure growth and urbanisation on food consumption in East Asia: a note on animal products," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 18(3), May.
  5. Rae, Allan N., 1998. "The effects of expenditure growth and urbanisation on food consumption in East Asia: a note on animal products," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 291-299, May.
  6. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, December.
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