Decoding the Growth-Nutrition Nexus in China: Inequality, Uncertainty and Food Insecurity

38 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2014

See all articles by Jing You

Jing You

Renmin University of China

Katsushi S. Imai

University of Manchester - School of Social Sciences

Raghav Gaiha

University of Delhi - Department of Economics; Australian National University (ANU)

Date Written: September 15, 2014

Abstract

Chinese households have experienced significant income growth, while their nutrition intake has not increased pari passu. This paper uses household data in both rural and urban China over the period 1989-2009 to explain the paradox of higher income but lower nutrition. In addition to traditional inputs into nutrition intake, we emphasise different sources of income, the heterogeneous income effects across households, and the price effects under rising and volatile food prices. The instrumental variable estimation shows that, although nutrition is not responsive to aggregate income, pro-agriculture income growth in terms of proportionally more crop income raises rural households’ nutrient intake, while business and wage income improves urban households’ nutrition. The estimation of a quantile instrumental variable fixed-effects panel model further documents a nutrition-improving effect of income for the least nourished and only the better-nourished are able to benefit from widely believed contributors of nutrition intake such as dietary knowledge, local off-farm employment and out-migration. Uncertainties attached to prices of meat, eggs and oil and fat accentuate nutrition poverty and can off-set the positive income effect, raising the risk of food insecurity despite growing income.

Keywords: food security, nutrition, inequality, poverty, IV regression, quantile regression, China

Suggested Citation

You, Jing and Imai, Katsushi S. and Gaiha, Raghav, Decoding the Growth-Nutrition Nexus in China: Inequality, Uncertainty and Food Insecurity (September 15, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2506119 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2506119

Jing You (Contact Author)

Renmin University of China ( email )

Room B906
Xianjin Building
Beijing, Beijing 100872
China

Katsushi S. Imai

University of Manchester - School of Social Sciences ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Raghav Gaiha

University of Delhi - Department of Economics ( email )

Delhi-110007
India

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

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