Shopping around: how households adjusted food spending over the great recession

Document type
Working Paper
Griffith, Rachel; O'Connell, Martin; Smith, Kate
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Date of publication
23 September 2015
IFS working paper; W15/29
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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Over the Great Recession UK households reduced real food expenditure. This research shows that they were able to maintain the number of calories that they purchased, and the nutritional quality of these calories, by adjusting their shopping behaviour. This paper documents the mechanisms that households used. The analysis presents a model of shopping behaviour in which households adjust shopping effort and the characteristics of their shopping basket in response to economic shocks. It uses detailed longitudinal data and focuses on within household changes in basket characteristics and proxies for shopping effort.

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