Food Expenditures away from Home by Elderly Households
This study investigates the differentiated effects of economic and socio-demographic variables on food away from home (FAFH) expenditures by type of facility among elderly households in the United States. Using data from the 2008–2010 Consumer Expenditure Surveys, the systems of expenditures on full-service, fast food, and other restaurants are estimated with a multivariate sample selection estimator which also accommodates heteroscedasticity in the error distribution. Statistical significance of error correlations among equations justifies estimation of the sample selection systems. Income, employment statuses, race, education, geographic region, and household composition are important determinants of FAFH expenditures. Income contributes to full-service and fast-food expenditures by the elderly implying that the future of FAFH industry is tied to macroeconomic conditions. Better education is associated with greater probabilities and larger levels of expenditures at all facilities. Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are found to be strong and negative, invalidating policy concerns for the general population that participation in the program might enhance consumption of less healthy FAFH.
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