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More or better? Measuring quality versus quantity in food consumption


Manig, Corinna & Moneta, Alessio (2013). More or better? Measuring quality versus quantity in food consumption. Journal of Bioeconomics, 16(2), 155-178.


As people become richer they get the opportunity of consuming more but also qualitatively better goods. This holds for a basic commodity like food as well. We investigate food consumption in Russia, taking into account both expenditure and nutrition value in terms of calories. We analyse how food consumption patterns change with increasing income by considering both “quantity Engel curves” and “quality Engel curves.” The former describe the functional dependence of calories consumed on total expenditure. The latter trace out the dependence of unit value per calorie on total expenditure. We compare income elasticities of quantity with income elasticities of unit value and quality. In Russian household survey data for years 2000–2002 the reaction of quality to income changes is significantly stronger than the reaction of quantity to income changes suggesting that Russian households tend to choose higher quality food items as income rises.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Bioeconomics


Manig, Corinna
Moneta, Alessio