Agricultural production, dietary diversity, and climate variability
Nonseparable household models outline the links between agricultural production and household consumption, yet empirical extensions to investigate the effect of production on dietary diversity and diet composition are limited. Although a significant literature has investigated the calorie-income elasticity abstracting from production, this paper provides an empirical application of the nonseparable household model linking the effect of exogenous variation in planting season production decisions via climate variability on household dietary diversity. Using exogenous variation in degree days, rainfall, and agricultural capital stocks as instruments, the effect of production on household dietary diversity at harvest is estimated. The empirical specifications estimate production effects on dietary diversity using both agricultural revenue and crop production diversity. Significant effects of agricultural revenue and crop production diversity on dietary diversity are estimated. The dietary diversity-production elasticities imply that a 10 percent increase in agricultural revenue or crop diversity results in a 1.8 percent or 2.4 percent increase in dietary diversity, respectively. These results illustrate that agricultural income growth or increased crop diversity may not be sufficient to ensure improved dietary diversity. Increases in agricultural revenue do change diet composition. Estimates of the effect of agricultural income on share of calories by food groups indicate relatively large changes in diet composition. On average, a 10 percent increase in agricultural revenue makes households 7.2 percent more likely to consume vegetables and 3.5 percent more likely to consume fish, and increases the share of tubers consumed by 5.2 percent.
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