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Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food

  • Deaton, A.
  • Paxson, C.

In this paper, we demonstrate that the empirical evidence is exactly the opposite of the theo-retical predictions. With total household expenditure per capita (PCE) held constant, expenditure per head on food falls with the number of heads. The result appears to be quite general; we find it not only in the United States, but also in Britain and France, and more surprisingly, in Taiwan, Thailand, Pakistan and among African households in South Africa. The size of the effect is also contrary to the theoretical analysis. In the United States, Britain, and France, food consumption falls by only a small amount as the scale of the household increases.

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Paper provided by Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies in its series Papers with number 178.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:priwds:178
Contact details of provider: Postal:
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, PRINCETON NEW- JERSEY 08542 U.S.A.

Phone: (609) 258-4800
Web page: http://wws.princeton.edu/

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  1. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and Household Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1415-34, November.
  2. Robinson, Peter M, 1988. "Root- N-Consistent Semiparametric Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 931-54, July.
  3. Thomas M. Fraker & Alberto P. Martini & James C. Ohls, 1995. "The Effect of Food Stamp Cashout on Food Expenditures: An Assessment of the Findings from Four Demonstrations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 633-649.
  4. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, December.
  5. Moffitt, Robert, 1989. "Estimating the Value of an In-Kind Transfer: The Case of Food Stamps," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 385-409, March.
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