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Stevano, Sara, Johnston, Deborah and Codjoe, Emmanuel Ashiedu (2020) 'Better decisions for food security? Critical reflections on the economics of food choice and decision-making in development economics.' Cambridge Journal of Economics, 44 (4). pp. 813-833.

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With malnutrition recognised as a key public health issue, attention has been placed on how individuals can make better decisions to attain food and nutrition security. Nevertheless, food practice entails a complex set of decisions that are not fully understood. This paper interrogates the focus on food choice by investigating how socio-economic relations shape practices of food provisioning. Given the surge of behavioural approaches in development economics and our focus on a middle-income country, we contextualise food choice in the transformations of the conceptualisations of decision-making in development economics. We draw on mixed-method evidence on food consumption practices among schoolchildren in Accra, Ghana. We find that the food decision-making process is complex in that it entails multiple moments and people, and embodies contradictory motivations. Decisions are negotiated outcomes reflecting social relations of power among the actors involved. Socio-economic inequality fragments the urban food environment and material living conditions. Furthermore, the concentration of capital gives the food industry the power to shape material and cultural relations to food in ways that extraordinarily limit the scope for individual choice. This is a critical case study to understand the contemporary dynamics of malnutrition in the urban Global South, with broader relevance for the analysis of food poverty elsewhere.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISSN: 14643545
Copyright Statement: © 2020. The Author(s)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2020 07:36
Funders: Other

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