Hunger and the externalities of dietary preferences : demand-side considerations of the current dietary paradigm

Part of : SEEJE ; Vol.10, No.1, 2012, pages 1-23

World hunger and the latest increases in global food prices are mainly dealt with by measures aimed at boosting supply and allowing markets to function more effectively. Motivated by the persistence of world hunger, we do not intend to contribute to either theory or empirical analysis in economics; we rather aim to show that current research and policies are locked in a sort of scientific paradigm which takes as given our dietary preferences, which are in fact fundamental in creating resource shortages and thus are correlated with world hunger. We bring together current scientific knowledge on nutrition, economics, and environmental studies, to illustrate that our dietary pattern poses large negative externalities to the aims of hunger reduction and food security. It follows that measures to combat world hunger should also address the negative effects this pattern has on the cost and long-run availability of food. Thus more effort and resources should be expended by governments in re-shaping demand towards choices that minimize these negative externalities. An interesting finding is that combating hunger is neither geographically focused nor based on pecuniary contributions only; individuals not directly affected by hunger and food insecurity can make positive contributions through their everyday food choices. Following this, implications and challenges for research and policy are discussed.
Subject (LC):
hunger, externalities, consumer preferences, industrial ecology, sustainable development
Περιέχει πίνακες, σημειώσεις, παράρτημα και βιβλιογραφία, JEL Classification: D62, D11, Q01, Q56, Q57
References (1):
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