Sharing the Pie: An Analysis of Undernutrition and Individual Consumption in Bangladesh

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Anti-poverty policies often aim to reach poor individuals by targeting poor households. However, intra-household inequality may mean some poor individuals reside in non-poor households. Using Bangladeshi data, we first show that undernourished individuals are spread across the household per-capita expenditure distribution. We then quantify the extent of total consumption inequality within families. We apply a novel approach to identify individual-level consumption within a collective household model and use the structural estimates to compute poverty rates separately for women, men, boys, girls, and the elderly. We find that women (especially older women) and children (later-born children in particular) face significant probabilities of living in poverty even in households with per-capita expenditure above the poverty line. This poverty misclassification is severe, as one third of poor individuals in our sample live in non-poor families.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number104460
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Early online date21 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021