IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Nutritional Aspects of Poverty among Casual Labourer Households in Shillong (India)


  • SK Mishra

    (North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, Meghalaya, India)

  • JW Lyngskor

    (North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, Meghalaya, India)


In this paper we report our findings as to the extent of poverty among the casual labourers of Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, India. Two views of poverty have been considered; first at the per capita (per month) income level and the second at the nutritional level. Nutritional level has been defined in terms of calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat intakes of the casual labourer households. We find that income elasticites of calorie availability and carbohydrate availability move close to each other. Income elasticities of protein are always higher than carbohydrate (and calorie). Elasticities of fat are initially larger than others, but with an increase in per capita income they slide down others. At small income levels relatively high-fat-low-protein articles are consumed while with an increase in income relatively low- fat-high-protein articles are consumed. The contribution of carbohydrates to calorie intake decreases with an increase in per capita income. Our findings do not corroborate Behrman and Deolalikar (1987), who showed that the income elasticity of calorie intake was quite low, and not significantly different from zero in statistical terms. If the income elasticity were close to zero, its implication is that improvement in the income of the poor will have little impact on the extent of malnutrition. Then the developmental policies intended to improve nutrition will have to use policy instruments which attack malnutrition directly rather than relying simply on raising income. But that is not the case as shown by our study. However, our findings support Strauss and Thomas (1990), Ravallion (1990). Bouis and Haddad (1992), and Subramanian and Deaton (1996), who find that income elasticities of energy component of food, although small, are yet significantly different from and much larger than zero. Subramanian and Deaton (1996), based on the National Sample Survey data, estimated the expenditure elasticity of calorie intake to lie in the range of 0.3-0.5 and in any case statistically different from zero. In our study, we find that income elasticities of calorie availability (to casual labourers in Shillong) are close to 0.4, which corroborate Subramanian and Deaton. We also find that not only calories, but other nutritional ingredients of food such as carbohydrate, protein and fat availabilities (intakes) also have income elasticities significantly larger than zero and, therefore, raising income to Rs. 800 (per capita per month) or so we may overcome the mal-nutrition problem among the poor.

Suggested Citation

  • SK Mishra & JW Lyngskor, 2005. "Nutritional Aspects of Poverty among Casual Labourer Households in Shillong (India)," Urban/Regional 0504006, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 May 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpur:0504006
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. SK Mishra & Prasen Daimari, 2005. "Poverty and Inequality in Rural Assam An Indicative Study of Seven Villages in Udalguri Subdivision, Assam (India)," Others 0504007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Strauss, J. & Thonas, D., 1990. "The Shape Of The Calorie-Expenditure Curve," Papers 595, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    3. Subramanian, Shankar & Deaton, Angus, 1996. "The Demand for Food and Calories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 133-162, February.
    4. Bouis, Howarth E. & Haddad, Lawrence J., 1992. "Are estimates of calorie-income fxelasticities too high? : A recalibration of the plausible range," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 333-364, October.
    5. Behrman, Jere R & Deolalikar, Anil B, 1987. "Will Developing Country Nutrition Improve with Income? A Case Study for Rural South India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 492-507, June.
    6. Mishra, SK & Lyngskor, JW, 2003. "Real Wages of Casual Labourers in Shillong (India)," MPRA Paper 1810, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. SK Mishra & JW Lyngskor, 2005. "Poverty, Dietary Imbalance and Sickness among Casual Labourer Households in Shillong (India)," Urban/Regional 0505004, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hamidou Jawara & Rainer Thiele, 2021. "The Nutrient-Income Elasticity in Ultra-Poor Households: Evidence from Kenya," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 33(6), pages 1795-1819, December.
    2. David Sahn & Ari Gerstle, 2004. "Child allowances and allocative decisions in Romanian households," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(14), pages 1513-1521.
    3. Nilanjana Roy, 2001. "A semiparametric analysis of calorie response to income change across income groups and gender," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 93-109.
    4. P. J. Dawson & A. I. Sanjuan, 2011. "Calorie consumption and income: panel cointegration and causality evidence in developing countries," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(15), pages 1455-1461.
    5. Samuel Perlo‐Freeman & Don J. Webber, 2009. "Basic Needs, Government Debt and Economic Growth," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(6), pages 965-994, June.
    6. Tankari, Mahamadou R., 2014. "L’élasticité calorie-revenu est-elle faible au Niger ?," Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, Editions NecPlus, vol. 95(04), pages 473-491, December.
    7. Gibson, John & Kim, Bonggeun, 2013. "How reliable are household expenditures as a proxy for permanent income? Implications for the income–nutrition relationship," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 23-25.
    8. Emmanuel Skoufias & Vincenzo Di Maro & Teresa González‐Cossío & Sonia Rodríguez Ramírez, 2009. "Nutrient consumption and household income in rural Mexico," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(6), pages 657-675, November.
    9. Santeramo, Fabio Gaetano & Shabnam, Nadia, 2015. "The income-elasticity of calories, macro and micro nutrients: What is the literature telling us?," MPRA Paper 63754, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Ferda HALICIOGLU, 2012. "The Demand for Calories in Turkey," Iktisat Isletme ve Finans, Bilgesel Yayincilik, vol. 27(316), pages 93-108.
    11. De Zhou & Xiaohua Yu, 2015. "Calorie Elasticities with Income Dynamics: Evidence from the Literature," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 575-601.
    12. Faiz Ur Rehman & Muhammad Nasir, 2018. "In the Same Boat, but not Equals: The Heterogeneous Effects of Indirect Taxation on Child Health in Punjab-Pakistan," PIDE-Working Papers 2018:158, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
    13. Kaushal, Neeraj & Muchomba, Felix M., 2015. "How Consumer Price Subsidies affect Nutrition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 25-42.
    14. Mohammad Ali & Kira M. Villa & Janak Joshi, 2018. "Health and hunger: nutrient response to income depending on caloric availability in Nepal," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 49(5), pages 611-621, September.
    15. Garrett, James L. & Ruel, Marie T., 1999. "Are determinants of rural and urban food security and nutritional status different?," FCND discussion papers 65, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. Miquel, Ruth & Laisney, François, 2000. "Consumption and nutrition: age - intake profiles for Czechoslovakia 1989 - 1992," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-63, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    17. Bengtsson, Niklas, 2010. "How responsive is body weight to transitory income changes? Evidence from rural Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 53-61, May.
    18. repec:aru:wpaper:200901 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2859-2939 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Valero-Gil, Jorge & Valero, Magali, 2018. "Calories and poverty during a prolonged crisis," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 56-69.
    21. Colen, L. & Melo, P.C. & Abdul-Salam, Y. & Roberts, D. & Mary, S. & Gomez Y Paloma, S., 2018. "Income elasticities for food, calories and nutrients across Africa: A meta-analysis," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 116-132.
    22. Senauer, Benjamin & Roe, Terry L., 1997. "Food Security And The Household," Working Papers 14452, University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy.

    More about this item


    Poverty; Shillong; Meghalaya; India; Nutritional intakes; carbohydrate; protein; fat; calorie; income elasticity; malnutrition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpur:0504006. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: EconWPA (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.