Estimating nutrition-income elasticities in sub-Saharan Africa: implications on health

Kolawole Ogundari, Shoichi Ito, Victor O. Okoruwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how the intakes of calories, proteins, and fats vary with income in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Design/methodology/approach – Annual time series data for 43 countries covering 1975-2009 that yields a balanced panel was employed for analysis. Nutrient-income elasticities are estimated based on the aggregate Engel Curve framework, using a feasible generalized least squares (FGLS) technique that is robust to autocorrelation. Findings – The estimated nutrient-income elasticities are small: a 10 percent increase in income will lead, respectively, to rises of about 0.73, 0.87, and 0.90 percent in calories, proteins, and fats intake; showing that policies that are aimed at eliminating malnutrition through only the growth of per capita income will have positive but limited impacts. The estimated aggregate Engel Curve and the non-parametric plots show that at higher income levels the relationship between income and nutrient intake is non-linear and diminished, suggesting a low likelihood for the manifestation of an obesity epidemic in SSA. Originality/value – This is the very study that attempts to look at the nutrition-income elasticities at cross-country level in SSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Economic Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 11 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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