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Impacts of Household Incomes on Food Demand in Developing Countries: A Meta-Analysis

The aim of this project is to provide a meta-analysis of existing studies of food demand, focussing on the relationship between income and calorie and nutrition consumption in developing countries, in particular African countries.

Project Aim

Understanding the relationship between income and food demand is critical for designing policies aimed at addressing under-nutrition and food security in developing countries. By and large, the literature has focused on the relationship between income and calorie consumption (i.e. calorie-income elasticities), while only a few studies have considered the nutrient composition (e.g. fats, proteins, carbohydrates) of calorie consumption. This distinction is important for understanding the interactions between income growth, food consumption, nutrition and health. Given the dominant focus of the literature on calorie consumption, as opposed to nutrient consumption, it is necessary to consider the differences in the calorie-income elasticities across different types of food as well as their associated nutrient consumption. This approach would present a holistic view of the relationship between income and food demand, and would better inform policy decisions on nutrition and food security.

The aim of this project is to provide a meta-analysis of existing studies of food demand, focussing on the relationship between income and calorie and nutrition consumption in developing countries, in particular African countries. Meta-analysis provides an objective approach to review empirical literature through the use of statistical techniques, and has been more prominently applied in psychology and medical sciences but has also more recently gained popularity in economics.

This project runs from October 2014 to May 2015 and is funded by the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS)

Project research questions/objectives

  • A Meta-analysis of the impact of household incomes on food demand with a focus on African countries.
  • An examination of the effects of new meta-regressors which may explain heterogeneity across reported elasticity estimates including type of demand model, potential model mis-specification, time dynamics of the adjustment of food demand to income growth, and national income levels.
  • Explore income elasticities associated with different types of food in order to improve understanding of the relationship between income and nutrition.
  • Investigate the existence of publication bias in reported estimates of income and food demand elasticities.

Methods

  • A systematic review of the relevant empirical literature is currently being conducted according to a specific search and selection strategy to produce a suitable meta-sample.
  • Post the review, a meta-regression analysis of the meta-sample will be conducted, as well as auxiliary sensitivity analysis to test for potential sources of bias.

Researchers involved

Patricia Melo, Robin Mathews, Deb Roberts, Yakubu Abdul-Salam

*Picture source: dreamstime.com, 2012

Project Information
Project Type: 
Archived Project

Research

Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.