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Caloric Requirements and Food Consumption Patterns of the Poor

Shari Eli, Nicholas Li

NBER Working Paper No. 21697
Issued in November 2015
NBER Program(s):The Development Economics Program

How much do calorie requirements vary across households and how do they affect food consumption patterns? Since caloric intake is a widely-used indicator of poverty and welfare, investigating changes in caloric requirements and food consumption patterns is important, especially for the poor. Combining anthropometric and time-use data for India, we construct a quantitative measure of individual and household caloric requirements. We then link our estimates of caloric requirements with consumption data to examine how caloric requirements coupled with household expenditures shape food demand. Our applications include the measurement of hunger and the role of caloric requirements in explaining food consumption puzzles related to household-scale and changes in caloric intake over time.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21697

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