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Deviations from the least-cost diets for infants

Abstract

This paper addresses an on-going controversy in the nutrition literature over the size and significance of the nutrient elasticity with respect to food expenditure. Linear programming methods are used to estimate the least-cost diets for infants in Cebu, Philippines. The results imply that, overall, the actual expenditure is greater than the least-cost expenditure. Data and regression analyses are used to explore the determinants of the deviations from the least-cost diets. The results support the hypotheses that the deviations increase with income due to the diminishing marginal utility of nutrients and that the deviations fall as the nutritional knowledge of the mother increases.

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Additional information

I am indebted to Anne Krueger, Marjorie McElroy, John Akin, James Baumgardner, Kevin Rask, Takao Kato, Michael Haines, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. Thanks also to the participants of Duke University International and Labor Workshops. I would like to thank the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill for providing me with the data and the Sloan Foundation for financial support. All errors are my own.

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Tiefenthaler, J. Deviations from the least-cost diets for infants. J Popul Econ 8, 281–300 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00185254

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00185254

Keywords

  • Regression Analysis
  • Food Expenditure
  • Marginal Utility
  • Programming Method
  • Actual Expenditure