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Measuring Food Security Using Respondents' Perception of Food Consumption Adequacy

  • Migotto, Mauro
  • Davis, Benjamin
  • Carletto, Gero
  • Beegle, Kathleen

Food security is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon. As such, its measurement may entail and benefit from the combination of both “qualitative-subjective” and “quantitative-objective” indicators. Yet, the evidence on the external validity of subjective-type information is scarce, especially using representative household surveys. The aim of this paper is to compare information on self-perceived food consumption adequacy from the subjective modules of household surveys with standard quantitative indicators, namely calorie consumption, dietary diversity and anthropometry. Datasets from four countries are analyzed: Albania, Madagascar, Nepal and Indonesia. Simple descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, contingency tables and multivariate regression show that the “subjective” indicator is at best poorly correlated with standard quantitative indicators. The paper concludes that while subjective food adequacy indicators may provide insight on the vulnerability dimension of food insecurity, they are too blunt an indicator for food insecurity targeting. An effort towards developing improved subjective food security modules that are contextually sensitive should go hand in hand with research into how to improve household survey data for food security measurement along other dimensions of the phenomenon, particularly calorie consumption.

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File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/rp2006/rp2006-88.pdf
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Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number RP2006/88.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2006-88
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  1. Oded Stark & J. Taylor, 1989. "Relative deprivation and international migration oded stark," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-14, February.
  2. Carlo Azzarri & Gero Carletto & Benjamin Davis & Alberto Zezza, 2006. "Monitoring Poverty Without Consumption Data : An Application Using the Albania Panel Survey," Eastern European Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 44(1), pages 59-82, February.
  3. Menno Pradhan & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Measuring Poverty Using Qualitative Perceptions Of Consumption Adequacy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 462-471, August.
  4. Ruel, Marie T., 2002. "Is dietary diversity an indicator of food security or dietary quality?," FCND briefs 140, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Tarp, Finn & Simler, Kenneth & Matusse, Cristina & Heltberg, Rasmus & Dava, Gabriel, 2002. "The robustness of poverty profiles reconsidered," FCND briefs 124, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Gero Carletto & Alberto Zezza, 2006. "Being poor, feeling poorer: Combining objective and subjective measures of welfare in Albania," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(5), pages 739-760.
  7. Morris, Saul Sutkover & Calogero, Carletto & Hoddinott, John & Christiaensen, Luc J. M., 1999. "Validity of rapid estimates of household wealth and income for health surveys in rural Africa," FCND discussion papers 72, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Maxwell, Simon, 1996. "Food security: a post-modern perspective," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 155-170, May.
  9. Emmanuel Skoufias, 2001. "Changes in regional inequality and social welfare in Indonesia from 1996 to 1999," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 73-91.
  10. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 1999. "Subjective economic welfare," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2106, The World Bank.
  11. Michael Lokshin & Nithin Umapathi & Stefano Paternostro, 2006. "Robustness of subjective welfare analysis in a poor developing country: Madagascar 2001," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 559-591.
  12. Nord, Mark, 2005. "Measuring U.S. Household Food Security," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
  13. Hoddinott, John & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2002. "Dietary diversity as a food security indicator," FCND briefs 136, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  14. Gero Carletto & Benjamin Davis & Marco Stampini, 2005. "Familiar Faces, Familiar Places: The role of family networks and previous experience for Albanian migrants," Working Papers 05-03, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
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