Calorie and Nutrient Consumption as a Function of Income: A Cross-Country Analysis
The relationship between calorie and nutrient (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) intake as a function of income is explored using data for 171 countries over two time periods 1990-1992 and 2003-2005. Three types of analysis are employed: i) nonparametric, ii) panel regressions, and iii) quantile regressions. Engle curves for calories, fat, and protein are approximately linear in logs with carbohydrate intakes exhibiting diminishing elasticities as incomes increase, becoming negative around $US7500 and above. Other nutrient and calorie elasticity estimates are positive statistically significant. Elasticities range from 0.10 to 0.25, with fat having the highest elasticities. The estimated elasticities for the quantile regressions are similar across the 0.25, 0.50 and 0.75 quantiles, but with moderate evidence that countries in the higher quantiles have lower elasticities than those in the lower quantiles. There has been a small but significant shift in the elasticities across the two periods.
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