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The Challenge of Measuring Hunger Through Survey

37 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2015  

Joachim De Weerdt

University of Antwerp - Institute of Development Policy and Management; KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS); Economic Development Initiatives (EDI)

Kathleen Beegle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Jed Friedman

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); World Bank Group

John Gibson

University of Waikato; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Date Written: March 2015

Abstract

There is widespread interest in estimating the number of hungry people in the world and trends in hunger. Current global counts rely on combining each country’s total food balance with information on distribution patterns from household consumption expenditure surveys. Recent research has advocated for calculating hunger numbers directly from these same surveys. For either approach, embedded in this effort are a number of important details about how household surveys are designed and how these data are then used. Using a survey experiment in Tanzania, this study finds great fragility in hunger counts stemming from alternative survey designs. As a consequence, comparable hunger numbers will be lacking until more effort is made to either harmonize survey designs or better understand the consequences of survey design variation.

Keywords: hunger prevalence, measurement error, consumption, survey design

JEL Classification: C88, O12, Q18

Suggested Citation

De Weerdt, Joachim and Beegle, Kathleen and Friedman, Jed and Gibson, John, The Challenge of Measuring Hunger Through Survey (March 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2577849 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2577849

Joachim De Weerdt (Contact Author)

Economic Development Initiatives (EDI) ( email )

P.O. Box 393
Bukoba
Tanzania

HOME PAGE: http://www.edi-africa.com

University of Antwerp - Institute of Development Policy and Management ( email )

City campus building S
Lange Sint Annastraat 7
Antwerp, 2000
Belgium

KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS) ( email )

Waaistraat 6 - box 3511
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

Kathleen Beegle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/kbeegle

Jed Friedman

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank Group ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

John Gibson

University of Waikato ( email )

Te Raupapa
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton, 3240
New Zealand

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

19 Milne Terrace
Island Bay
Wellington, 6002
New Zealand

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