Intra-Household Nutritional Inequities in Rural Bangladesh

Utilizing a novel data source from rural Bangladesh that reports individual-level food intake, we find substantial inequities in the intra-household distribution of calories and nutrients, with household heads consuming disproportionately large shares. Importantly, these results do not appear to be driven by assumptions regarding energy requirements. Due to the inequities, aggregate household-level data misclassify the nutritional status of a large share of the population. Additionally, we find that both women’s disempowerment and economic stressors are associated with more inequitable calorie distributions. And we find that in households with more empowered spouses, either the spouse or the children, or both are less likely to be undernourished than in households with less empowered spouses. These findings have implications for food and nutrition program targeting, which often is based on using household-level data with strong assumptions regarding the equitable distribution of calories across household members.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
D12; I15; O12; O53

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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