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Do Prices and Attributes Explain International Differences in Food Purchases?


  • Dubois, Pierre
  • Griffith, Rachel
  • Nevo, Aviv


Food purchases differ substantially across countries. We use detailed household level data from the US, France and the UK to (i) document these differences; (ii) esti- mate a demand system for food and nutrients, and (iii) simulate counterfactual choices if households faced prices and nutritional characteristics from other countries. We find that differences in prices and characteristics are important and can explain some difference (e.g., US-France difference in caloric intake), but generally cannot explain many of the compositional patterns by themselves. Instead, it seems an interaction between the economic environment and differences in preferences is needed to explain cross country differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Dubois, Pierre & Griffith, Rachel & Nevo, Aviv, 2013. "Do Prices and Attributes Explain International Differences in Food Purchases?," TSE Working Papers 13-370, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised May 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:26732

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Oberländer, L. & Disdier, A-C. & Etilé, F., 2016. "Globalisation and national trends in nutrition and health - a grouped fixed effects approach to inter-country heterogeneity," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 16/18, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. Harding, Matthew & Lovenheim, Michael, 2017. "The effect of prices on nutrition: Comparing the impact of product- and nutrient-specific taxes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 53-71.
    3. Clément Bellet, 2017. "Essays on Inequality, Social Preferences and Consumer Behavior," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/vbu6kd1s68o, Sciences Po.
    4. Dubois, Pierre & Griffith, Rachel & O'Connell, Martin, 2017. "How well targeted are soda taxes?," TSE Working Papers 17-868, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    5. Ji Yan & Kun Tian & Huw D. Dixon & Saeed Heravi & Peter Morgan, 2014. "Shop Around and You Pay More," CESifo Working Paper Series 4940, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Dragone, D. & Ziebarth, N.R., 2015. "Non-Separable Time Preferences and Novelty Consumption: Theory and Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/28, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Paolo Giovanni Piacquadio, 2017. "A Fairness Justification of Utilitarianism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 1261-1276, July.
    8. Christophe Gouel & Houssein Guimbard, 2017. "Nutrition transition and the structure of global food demand," Working Papers 2017-05, CEPII research center.
    9. Fensore, Irene & Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2017. "Human Barriers to International Trade," Economics Working Paper Series 1712, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    10. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2015. "Economic Development, Novelty Consumption, and Body Weight: Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 8967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Hunt Allcott & Rebecca Diamond & Jean-Pierre Dubé, 2017. "The Geography of Poverty and Nutrition: Food Deserts and Food Choices Across the United States," NBER Working Papers 24094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Rachel Griffith & Martin O'Connell & Kate Smith, 2016. "Shopping Around: How Households Adjusted Food Spending Over the Great Recession," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(330), pages 247-280, April.
    13. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Non-separable time preferences, novelty consumption and body weight: Theory and evidence from the East German transition to capitalism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-65.
    14. Daniel Herrera‐Araujo, 2016. "Folic acid advisories: a public health challenge?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(9), pages 1104-1122, September.
    15. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:69:y:2017:i:c:p:207-217 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Griffith, Rachel & Krol, Michal & Smith, Kate, 2015. "Store Brands and the Role of Advertising," CEPR Discussion Papers 10877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Drew Zhu, 2016. "Demand without Utility: The First Evidence," 2016 Papers pzh519, Job Market Papers.
    18. Ferrer, Rosa & Perrone, Helena, 2016. "Consumers' Costly Responses to Product Safety Threats," CEPR Discussion Papers 11262, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. repec:bla:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:6:p:1253-1286 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Wang, Emily & Rojas, Christian & Bauner, Christoph, 2015. "Evolution of nutritional quality in the US: Evidence from the ready-to-eat cereal industry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 105-108.
    21. 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, December.
    22. Lichtman-Sadot, Shirlee, 2016. "Does banning carbonated beverages in schools decrease student consumption?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 30-50.
    23. Emily Oster, 2015. "Diabetes and Diet: Behavioral Response and the Value of Health," NBER Working Papers 21600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Rosa Ferrer Zarzuela & Helena Perrone, 2017. "Consumers’ costly responses to product-harm crises," Economics Working Papers 1571, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    25. Eve Sihra, 2017. "Consumption, Social Interactions and Preferences," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1ej8deo44v9, Sciences Po.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

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