Does the Poor’s Consumption of Calories Respond to Changes in Income? Evidence from Pakistan

Franque Grimard


This paper examines the relationship between income and
calorie consumption for households in developing countries. Recent
papers have questioned the strength of this relationship on the basis of
several measurement problems that tend to overstate the responsiveness
of calories consumption to income. The paper uses a household data set
from Pakistan and estimates calories income elasticities for rural and
urban households. The estimation takes into account the concerns raised
by Behrman and Deolalikar (1987) and Bouis and Haddad (1992) about
quality effects and unobservable variables. The paper finds that the
elasticity is significantly different from zero. Furthermore, the
relationship appears to be different according to households’ incomes.
Poor households’ responsiveness of calories intake to changes in income
is greater than that of the entire sample. These results are consistent
with the conventional wisdom that existed before the recent

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