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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Developing Robust Methods for Evaluating Policies in the Markets for Food and Nutrition

Diet-related diseases are on the rise in most Western countries and addressing the related public health issues is a key policy concern.

The impact of policy on diet will depend on how consumers adapt their food purchasing behaviour in response to the policy, on how firms in turn respond in terms of the prices they set and the foods they offer, and on how food purchased is shared between individuals within households.

There have been important methodological advances in modelling these behaviours, but their application to policy has relied on several restrictive distributional assumptions, which are known to heavily influence the results.

This project aims to develop a better set of tools that allow some of these restrictive assumptions to be relaxed, and that will help improve understanding of how potential policy interventions will affect consumer and firm behaviour, and hence lead to better subsequent impact on nutritional outcomes.

In particular, the project will focus on extending models of consumer demand to allow for flexible heterogeneity in preferences, extending existing methods that are used for identifying individual consumption from household level expenditure data, and applying these techniques to the analysis of policy in the area of food and nutrition.