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Nutrient Consumption and Household Income in Rural Mexico

2009, Skoufias, Emmanuel, Gonzalez-Cossio, Teresa, Rodriguez Ramirez, Sonia

We estimate the income elasticity for a variety of macro- and micronutrients using a sample of poor rural households in Mexico. The nutrient-income elasticity is estimated using both parametric and semiparametric methods. A special focus is placed on the nonlinearity of the relationship between nutrient intake and income and on measurement error and endogeneity issues. One major finding is that income elasticity for calories is close to zero when we control for measurement error issues. For some nutrients, namely fats, vitamin A and C, calcium, and heme iron, we find a sizeable positive income elasticity robust to the choice of the estimator and percentiles at which it is evaluated. These nutrients are also those for which we find the largest deficiency in our sample. In addition, we find that for the poorest households in our sample, the deficiency of total energy, protein, and zinc is not accompanied by a positive income elasticity.

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Conditional Cash Transfers, Adult Work Incentives, and Poverty

2008, Skoufias, Emmanuel

Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes aim to alleviate poverty through monetary and in-kind benefits, as well as reduce future incidence of poverty by encouraging investments in education, health and nutrition. The success of CCT programmes at reducing poverty depends on whether, and the extent to which, cash transfers affect adult work incentives. In this paper we examine whether the PROGRESA programme of Mexico affects adult participation in the labour market and overall adult leisure time, and we link these effects to the impact of the programme on poverty. Utilising the experimental design of PROGRESA's evaluation sample, we find that the programme does not have any significant effect on adult labour force participation and leisure time. Our findings on adult work incentives are reinforced further by the result that PROGRESA leads to a substantial reduction in poverty. The poverty reduction effects are stronger for the poverty gap and severity of poverty measures.