How Elastic Is Calorie Demand? Parametric, Nonparametric, And Semiparametric Results For Urban Papua New Guinea
This paper seeks further evidence on the elasticity of calorie demand with respect to household resources. The case presented is for urban areas of Papua New Guinea, where just over one-half of the population appear to obtain less than the recommended amount of dietary energy. The relationship between per capita calorie consumption and per capita expenditure in urban areas of Papua New Guinea is not consistent with the view that income changes have negligible effects on nutrient intakes. The unconditional calorie demand elasticity is approximately 0.6 for the poorest half of the population, most of whom have less than the recommended 2000 calories per day available to them. Using parametric and semiparametric estimation to control for a wide range of other influences on calorie consumption does not materially reduce the size of the elasticity. Therefore, these results are not supportive of growth-pessimism and instead suggest that policies that increase urban household incomes will also act to reduce undernutrition.
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