Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 1043–1053 | Cite as

A note on the ‘food paradox’: some contradictory evidence

Article

Abstract

A sample of 200 households in one New York City neighborhood in 1904 shows constant per capita food consumption as households grow in size, holding constant per capita expenditure. Logan (Econ Inq 49(4):1008–1028, 2011) presents US historical evidence that per capita food consumption declines as households grow, replicating contemporary cross-national evidence reported by Deaton and Paxson (J Political Econ 106(5):897–930, 1998), which they describe as a ‘paradox’. Possible reasons for the contradictory evidence include minimal price variation within a city, greater homogeneity of household units, more being spend on rent leading to greater benefits of sharing living space, and application of the unitary household model to a more appropriate setting. Time series estimates of US price and income elasticity of food demand show constant or increasing per capita consumption, which also contradicts the received literature.

Keywords

Engel curves ‘Food paradox’ Household food consumption Household scale economies 

JEL Classification

D1 N3 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus Professor of EconomicsRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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