Three essays on food consumption in urban households of Ghana
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The first chapter of the dissertation employs the quantile regression to identify determinants of the entire food expenditure distribution, especially the lower and upper tails, namely, households with relative low and high food expenditure. The survey data set was collected in three large cities of Ghana (i.e. Accra, Tamale, and Takoradi) in 2011. The use of quantile regression allows the examination of how the effects of socio-demographic factors vary across the different points of the food expenditure distribution. Results indicate that income, education, marital status, age, household composition, and household location have a significant influence on food expenditure. Among those factors, income and location have different effects along the food expenditure distribution. High food expenditure households are more sensitive to the increase of income than low food expenditure households and likely to spend more on food purchases. The food expenditure premium of Accra households over Tamale households is larger among high food expenditure households, and smaller among low food expenditure households. The second chapter of the dissertation assessed the relative importance of different food retail outlets (i.e., supermarkets, open-air markets, and hawkers) in food supply system of Ghana, and identified the socio-demographic profiles of consumers associated with shopping in each retail format. Results of the study indicate open-air markets still dominate the food supply system in Ghana, while supermarkets and hawkers play an active role as alternative food shopping outlets. Well-educated, high-income households prefer to frequent supermarkets for food shopping, while hawkers attract households with small children, likely because of convenient access. The objective of the third chapter is to investigate how the expenditure on fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and peanut products varies by location and, then, to find out the determinants of expenditure on these three food categories, considering the difference in household location. Results suggest that besides socioeconomic and demographic factors (including income, education, marital status, age, and household composition), the fresh vegetable and peanut product expenditure are affected by location in urbanized areas of Ghana, and establish that the location interacts with income in determining the food expenditure.