The Calorie Consumption Puzzle in India: An Empirical Investigation

Over the past four decades, India has witnessed a paradoxical trend: average per capita calorie intake has declined even as real per capita monthly expenditure has increased over time. Since cross sectional evidence suggests a robust positive relationship between the two variables, the trend emerges as a major puzzle. The main explanations that have been offered in the literature to address the puzzle are: rural impoverishment, relative price changes, decline in calorie needs, diversification of diets, a squeeze on the food budget due to rising expenditures on nonfood essentials, and decline in subsistence consumption (due to commercialization). Using a panel data set of 28 Indian states and the national capital territory of Delhi over four time periods (1993

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