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Food Insecurity and Insufficiency at Low Levels of Food Expenditures

Author

Listed:
  • Gundersen, Craig

    () (University of Illinois at Chicago)

  • Ribar, David C.

    () (University of Melbourne)

Abstract

This study uses data from the December 2003 Food Security Supplement of the CPS to compare the food insufficiency and insecurity measures with objective measures of food expenditures and objective and subjective measures of food needs. The study examines the general relationships between these variables and finds that reports of food hardships are positively associated with food expenditures and negatively associated with needs. The study goes on to examine reports of food hardships at low very levels of food expenditures, where we conjecture that most people should experience food problems. When expenditures are scaled by an objective measure of needs, there is no point along the expenditure distribution where more than half of the survey respondents report experiencing being food insufficient or insecure. However, when expenditures are scaled by a subjective threshold, we observe near-universal reporting of food problems at low levels of expenditures. The findings indicate that the food insufficiency and insecurity measures each incorporate a large subjective component, which limits the usefulness of the measures for comparing the extent of food hardships across populations or over time or evaluating the effects of assistance programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Gundersen, Craig & Ribar, David C., 2005. "Food Insecurity and Insufficiency at Low Levels of Food Expenditures," IZA Discussion Papers 1594, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1594
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mazur, Robert E & Marquis, Grace S & Jensen, Helen H., 2003. "Diet and Food Insufficiency Among Hispanic Youth: Acculturation and Socioeconomic Determinants in Nhanes III," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10668, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    2. Borjas, George J., 2004. "Food insecurity and public assistance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1421-1443, July.
    3. Craig Gundersen & Victor Oliveira, 2001. "The Food Stamp Program and Food Insufficiency," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 875-887.
    4. Arie Kapteyn & Peter Kooreman & Rob Willemse, 1988. "Some Methodological Issues in the Implementation of Subjective Poverty Definitions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(2), pages 222-242.
    5. Bhattacharya, Jayanta & Currie, Janet & Haider, Steven, 2004. "Poverty, food insecurity, and nutritional outcomes in children and adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 839-862, July.
    6. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2004. "Subjective Outcomes in Economics," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 2-11, July.
    7. Ribar, David C. & Hamrick, Karen S., 2003. "Dynamics Of Poverty And Food Sufficiency," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33851, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    8. Gundersen, Craig & Weinreb, Linda & Wehler, Cheryl & Hosmer, David, 2003. "Homelessness and food insecurity," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 250-272, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Craig Gundersen & Brent Kreider, 2008. "Food Stamps and Food Insecurity: What Can Be Learned in the Presence of Nonclassical Measurement Error?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 352-382.
    2. Howard, Larry L., 2011. "Does food insecurity at home affect non-cognitive performance at school? A longitudinal analysis of elementary student classroom behavior," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 157-176, February.
    3. Herault, Nicolas & Ribar, David C., 2017. "Food insecurity and homelessness in the Journeys Home survey," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 52-66.
    4. Joachim De Weerdt & Kathleen Beegle & Jed Friedman & John Gibson, 2016. "The Challenge of Measuring Hunger through Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(4), pages 727-758.
    5. Artjoms Ivlevs, 2014. "Economic Insecurity in Transition: A Primary Commodities Perspective," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 117-140, May.
    6. Laura Leete & Neil Bania, 2010. "The effect of income shocks on food insufficiency," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 505-526, December.
    7. Oluyemisi Kuku & Steven Garasky & Craig Gundersen, 2012. "The relationship between childhood obesity and food insecurity: a nonparametric analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(21), pages 2667-2677, July.
    8. Daniel Millimet & Manan Roy, 2015. "Partial identification of the long-run causal effect of food security on child health," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 83-141, February.
    9. Noonan, Kelly & Corman, Hope & Reichman, Nancy E., 2016. "Effects of maternal depression on family food insecurity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 201-215.
    10. Gundersen, Craig & Kreider, Brent, 2009. "Bounding the effects of food insecurity on children's health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 971-983, September.
    11. Silva, Andrés & Caro, Juan Carlos & Magaña-Lemus, David, 2016. "Household food security: Perceptions, behavior and nutritional quality of food purchases," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 139-148.
    12. Kelly Noonan & Hope Corman & Nancy E. Reichman, 2014. "Effects of Maternal Depression on Family Food Insecurity," NBER Working Papers 20113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. repec:spr:agrhuv:v:35:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10460-017-9818-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Cadario, Romain, 2016. "The impact of health claims and food deprivation levels on health risk perceptions of fast-food restaurants," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 130-134.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    expenditures; food insufficiency; food insecurity; non-parametric regression;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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