Income and Food Expenditures Decomposed by Cohort, Age, and Time Effects

This report expands aggregate lifecycle expenditure analysis by separating generational or cohort effects from aging effects. This is important since different generations or age groups may exhibit expenditure patterns that are the result of higher incomes and/or different tastes and preferences. Ignoring these generational effects produces income and consumption age profiles that can be misleading. With accurate consumption and age profiles, policymakers can gain a better idea of food intake patterns by cohort, and thereby identify groups that may need additional diet and health information. Using survey data to follow eight cohort groups from 1982 through 1995, this study found that: real per capita income increased for all cohorts, except for the very youngest, with a peak in earnings between the ages of 50 and 59; all food categories except for vegetables and sugar and sweets have statistically significant cohort effects; younger cohorts spent less than older cohorts on food at home, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, but more on cereal and bakery goods as well as miscellaneous prepared foods. This study found no evidence that younger cohorts spend more than older cohorts on food away from home.

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Technical Bulletin No 1896

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-10-21

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