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Poverty and fat consumption: Education poor or income poor?

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In this paper, we question the role of added fats on health disparities in the French case and its policy implications. Since low-status populations are proven to have more nutritional pathologies, can we evidence fat consumption specificity in poor populations? We first verify the strong sensitivity of fat consumption to income and education, criteria which both characterize deprived populations. We estimate a demand system taking into account the selection issue. For this we propose a modification of the Shonkwiler and Yen's procedure which, unlike Heckman's, allows participation on every market of products to be controlled for. We use the latter procedure on a set of seven fat categories which have different, including opposite, health attributes. Our results show that segmentation following income and/or education essentially affects price elasticities. This offers different perspectives for health policies. Controlling fat consumption through prices appears easier among low-income households than among low-education households.
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Keywords: Demand system; healthy diet; low education; low income; price policy; two-step models

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Consumption Research Laboratory, INRA-CORELA, Ivry-sur-Seine, France

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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