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Food Security Measurement: An Empirical Approach

Food Security in an Uncertain World

ISBN: 978-1-78560-213-9, eISBN: 978-1-78560-212-2

Publication date: 16 December 2015



Food security is an essential measure of welfare, especially for low-income families in developing countries. Policy makers should be aware of the harm food insecurity has on vulnerable households. This chapter empirically addresses the problems of measuring and monitoring food security in Mexico.


We identify the macro and micro approaches for measuring food security. The macro approach uses variables at the country level. Usually, this information is available on a yearly basis, is easy to implement, and can be compared across countries. The micro approach uses household questionnaires to collect food security information. Our analysis suggests that a macro approach will not be as precise as the micro approach due to inequality (agroclimatic, social, and economic).


Empirical experience suggests that food insecurity and its severity can be captured at the household level using the Food Insecurity Experiences Questionnaire. This questionnaire allows us to calculate food security measurements that closely follow the food security definition.


From a public policy perspective, the different methodologies for measurement do not consider all the dimensions of food security as defined by the term. This chapter examines which approach provides the best measurement of food security.




The authors thank Vicente López Díaz for his helpful comments on an early version of this chapter. Thanks also go to our research assistant, Brenda I. Mejía Guerrero.


Magaña-Lemus, D. and Lara-Álvarez, J. (2015), "Food Security Measurement: An Empirical Approach", Food Security in an Uncertain World (Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 49-62.



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