Nutritional Vulnerability Within the Household: Panel Data Evidence From Rural Bangladesh

Anna D' Souza , Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Sharad Tandon, The World Bank Group

Using rare panel data representative of rural Bangladesh and containing individual-level food consumption, we examine the dynamics of undernourishment (failing to meet one’s minimum daily energy requirement) within the household and over time. Male heads receive a disproportionate share of household calories compared to all other members and if they were undernourished in round one, they are the most likely to be adequately nourished in round two (compared to their spouses, children and other adults). Importantly, some members are undernourished despite residing in households with sufficient calorie availability for all members; such households would be classified as food secure based on standard per capita calorie measures. We explore how economic well-being, women's empowerment, and calorie availability are associated with such inequities. We attempt to shed light on the roles of economic resources and culture, with implications for program design, e.g., safety nets that more explicitly account for intrahousehold dynamics.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions