The Impact of Income on Malnutrition in Iran: Evidence from Urban Household Income and Expenditure Surveys between 2008 and 2016

Document Type : Original Article


1 MSc in Economics, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Economics, Graduate School Of Management And Economics, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


Malnutrition is a big challenge in population and anti-poverty policy making. It could adversely affect productivity and lower income, which result in a food poverty trap. A diverse set of socio-economic factors affect malnutrition. Income growth could be an important factor in lowering malnutrition. However, a key requirement is that calorie and macronutrients demand also increase with income. In this paper we use parametric and non-parametric methods to estimate the income elasticity of calorie and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) for urban areas of Iran. We combine data from urban household income and expenditure surveys between 2008 and 2016 to calculate income, purchased calorie and macronutrients of households. The non-parametric results show that the income elasticity is significantly different from zero in low-income households but becomes insignificant in higher deciles. The parametric results show that the income elasticity of calorie and macronutrients are between 0.18 and 0.27. Thus, policies that enhance household income are effective in reducing malnutrition.


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