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The Political Economy of Hunger: Volume 1: Entitlement and Well-being$
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Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198286356.001.0001

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Food and Standard of Living: An Analysis Based on Sri Lankan Data *

Food and Standard of Living: An Analysis Based on Sri Lankan Data *

Chapter:
(p.297) 9 Food and Standard of Living: An Analysis Based on Sri Lankan Data*
Source:
The Political Economy of Hunger: Volume 1: Entitlement and Well-being
Author(s):

Sudhir Anand (Contributor Webpage)

Christopher Harris

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198286356.003.0009

This chapter examines an empirical welfare indicator using data from Sri Lanka. Per capita income, because of its variability, may lead to overstatements of inequality and poor people's food consumption, and understatements of rich people's food consumption and the rich-poor disparity. Per capita total expenditure as a measure is flawed as it contains durable expenditure and this leads to to variability in total expenditure. However, lack of variability in per capita food expenditure is evident and it is less prone to seasonal variations in relative prices, has some practical advantages, and is superior to the remaining contender — foodshare. All these have made it a good welfare indicator. It is argued that widespread dissaving, reported for bottom ranges in developing countries, originates from the use of inappropriate welfare indicators. A re-ranking by per capita food expenditure is warranted on other countries' data sets.

Keywords:   welfare indicator, per capita income, expenditure per capita, per capita food expenditure, foodshare

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