Food Insecurity and Insufficiency at Low Levels of Food Expenditures

29 Pages Posted: 18 May 2005

See all articles by Craig Gundersen

Craig Gundersen

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); Iowa State University

David Ribar

George Washington University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

This study uses data from the December 2003 Food Security Supplement of the CPS to compare the food insufficiency and insecurity measures with objective measures of food expenditures and objective and subjective measures of food needs. The study examines the general relationships between these variables and finds that reports of food hardships are positively associated with food expenditures and negatively associated with needs. The study goes on to examine reports of food hardships at low very levels of food expenditures, where we conjecture that most people should experience food problems. When expenditures are scaled by an objective measure of needs, there is no point along the expenditure distribution where more than half of the survey respondents report experiencing being food insufficient or insecure. However, when expenditures are scaled by a subjective threshold, we observe near-universal reporting of food problems at low levels of expenditures. The findings indicate that the food insufficiency and insecurity measures each incorporate a large subjective component, which limits the usefulness of the measures for comparing the extent of food hardships across populations or over time or evaluating the effects of assistance programs.

Keywords: food insecurity, food insufficiency, expenditures, non-parametric regression

JEL Classification: I3

Suggested Citation

Gundersen, Craig and Ribar, David C., Food Insecurity and Insufficiency at Low Levels of Food Expenditures (May 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1594. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=725445

Craig Gundersen

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ( email )

1301 New York Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20250
United States

Iowa State University ( email )

613 Wallace Road
Ames, IA 50011
United States

David C. Ribar (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

Monroe Hall, Suite 340
2115 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052 20052
United States
202-994-7608 (Phone)
202-994-6147 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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