Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys

Improve the design of household consumption and expenditure surveys for agricultural and food policy interventions

Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (HCES) are increasingly being used to address the food and nutrition information gap because they contain a great deal of information about food acquisition and consumption, are conducted once every 3-5 years in more than 125 countries, have large samples, and are often statistically representative at subnational levels. Existing guidelines and recommendations on HCES design were developed with the primary intention of accurately updating the consumer price index and estimating poverty, rather than meeting nutrition, agriculture, or food policy objectives.  Consequently, HCES are heterogeneous, reflecting both the diversity of their original objectives and the country-specific idiosyncratic ways in which they are implemented.

The INDDEX team will analyze existing HCES datasets to identify design decisions that will increase the validity and usefulness of household food consumption modules. This research agenda has been defined collectively with the Technical Working Group on Improving the Measurement of Food Consumption in Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys, under the UN Inter-Agency Working Group on Agricultural and Rural Statistics (to which several INDDEX team members belong). This set of activities is closely linked to the project’s Guiding Frameworks and objective to Build Capacity and Global Demand, in which the INDDEX Project will promote the standardization and adoption of these improved survey practices, as well as greater use of HCES data for food, nutrition, and agriculture policy-making.

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