Changes in Household Diet: Determinants and Predictability

50 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018 Last revised: 8 Jul 2023

See all articles by Stefan Hut

Stefan Hut

Brown University

Emily Oster

Brown University

Date Written: August 2018


We use grocery purchase data to analyze dietary changes. We show that households – including those with more income or education - do not improve diet in response to disease diagnosis or changes in household circumstances. We then identify households who show large improvements in diet quality. We use machine learning to predict these households and find (1) concentration of baseline diet in a small number of foods is a predictor of improvement and (2) dietary changes are concentrated in a small number of foods. We argue these patterns may be well fit by a model which incorporates attention costs.

Suggested Citation

Hut, Stefan and Oster, Emily, Changes in Household Diet: Determinants and Predictability (August 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24892, Available at SSRN:

Stefan Hut (Contact Author)

Brown University ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Emily Oster

Brown University

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics