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Shopping around: how households adjusted food spending over the Great Recession

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Listed:
  • Rachel Griffith

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Manchester)

  • Martin O'Connell

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Wisconsin)

  • Kate Smith

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

Over the Great Recession UK households reduced real food expenditure. We show that they were able to maintain the number of calories that they purchased, and the nutritional quality of these calories, by adjusting their shopping behaviour. We document the mechanisms that households used. We motivate our analysis with a model of shopping behaviour in which households adjust shopping effort and the characteristics of their shopping basket in response to economic shocks. We use detailed longitudinal data and focus on within household changes in basket characteristics and proxies for shopping effort.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Griffith & Martin O'Connell & Kate Smith, 2015. "Shopping around: how households adjusted food spending over the Great Recession," IFS Working Papers W15/29, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:15/29
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    Cited by:

    1. Jim Been & Susann Rohwedder & Michael Hurd, 2020. "Does Home Production Replace Consumption Spending? Evidence from Shocks in Housing Wealth in the Great Recession," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 113-128, March.
    2. Alena Bičáková & Guido Matias Cortes & Jacopo Mazza, 2021. "Caught in the Cycle: Economic Conditions at Enrolment and Labour Market Outcomes of College Graduates," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 131(638), pages 2383-2412.
    3. O’Connell, Martin & Smith, Kate & Stroud, Rebekah, 2022. "The dietary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    4. Vanessa M Oddo & Jessica C Jones-Smith, 2020. "Unemployment during the Great Recession and Large-for-Gestational-Age births," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(5), pages 1-12, May.
    5. Jean Hindriks & Leonardo Madio & Valerio Serse, 2021. "Promotion Ban and Heterogeneity in Retail Prices during the Great Lockdown," CESifo Working Paper Series 9074, CESifo.
    6. von Hinke, Stephanie & Leckie, George, 2017. "Protecting energy intakes against income shocks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 210-232.
    7. Zeballos, Eliana & Dong, Xiao, 2021. "The Localized Effects of the COVID-19 Recession on Food Sales," 2021 Annual Meeting, August 1-3, Austin, Texas 313996, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Stephanie von Hinke & George Leckie, 2017. "Protecting Calorie Intakes against Income Shocks," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 17/684, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    9. Rachel Griffith & Rodrigo Lluberas & Melanie Lührmann, 2016. "Gluttony and Sloth? Calories, Labor Market Activity and the Rise of Obesity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(6), pages 1253-1286.
    10. Lester Lusher & Geoffrey C. Schnorr & Rebecca L.C. Taylor, 2022. "Unemployment Insurance as a Worker Indiscipline Device? Evidence from Scanner Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 285-319, April.
    11. Jaravel, Xavier & O'Connell, Martin, 2020. "Inflation Spike and Falling Product Variety during the Great Lockdown," CEPR Discussion Papers 14880, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Aursland, Thor Andreas & Steen, Frode, 2021. "Unemployment shocks, cyclical prices and shopping behavior," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 3/2021, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    13. Dong, Xiao & Zeballos, Eliana, 2021. "COVID-19 Working Paper: The Effects of COVID-19 on Food Sales," USDA Miscellaneous 309615, United States Department of Agriculture.
    14. Brenna Ellison & Brandon McFadden & Bradley J. Rickard & Norbert L. W. Wilson, 2021. "Examining Food Purchase Behavior and Food Values During the COVID‐19 Pandemic," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(1), pages 58-72, March.
    15. Hasan, Syed & Shakur, Shamim & Breunig, Robert, 2021. "Exchange rates and expenditure of households with foreign-born members: Evidence from Australia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 977-997.
    16. Alena Bicakova & Guido Matias Cortes & Jacopo Mazza, 2021. "Make Your Own Luck: The Wage Gains from Starting College in a Bad Economy," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp698, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    17. Rishab Guha & Serena Ng, 2019. "A Machine Learning Analysis of Seasonal and Cyclical Sales in Weekly Scanner Data," NBER Chapters, in: Big Data for Twenty-First-Century Economic Statistics, pages 403-436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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