Declining nutrient intake in a growing China: Does household heterogeneity matter?


This paper uses Chinese household data for 1989-2009 to explain why mean nutrient intake has declined despite economic growth. We focus on household heterogeneity in nutrient intake response to increases in household income allowing for its endogeneity. A quantile instrumental-variable fixed-effects panel estimation shows that rising income tends to reduce inequality in macronutrient intake in both urban and rural areas in 2004-2009. This is driven by increases in nutrient intake for the urban nutrient poor and falls in nutrient intake for the rural nutrient non-poor. On the other hand, fluctuations in prices of meat, eggs and oil increase nutrition poverty.


Nutrition, Nutrient intake, Inequality, Poverty, Obesity, IV regression, Quantile regression, China

JEL Classification

C23, I10, I31, O53, Q18


Jing YOU
School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development Renmin University of China, China

Katsushi S. IMAI
Economics, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: +81-78-803-7036
FAX: +81-78-803-7059

Raghav GAIHA
Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, India
Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, USA