In their Food Security Assessment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture uses income data and a cross-country Engel curve for food energy (energy–income curve) to estimate distribution-sensitive food gaps of developing countries. In a recent Review of Agricultural Economics paper, Senauer and Sur use the same methodology to estimate headcount ratios of undernourishment. We show that the estimated Engel curve underestimates individual food consumption and, hence, overestimates food gaps and headcount ratios due to a serious flaw in the methodology.
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Document Type: Commentary
Silke Gabbert is research associate in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University.
Hans-Peter Weikard is associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University.
Publication date: March 1, 2005