Publications (FIS)

Comparison of Two Different Approaches to Measuring Economic Vulnerability to Food Insecurity

An Application to Mexico Using Official Data

authored by
Stefano Marchetti, Luca Secondi, Adrian Vargas Lopez

The United Nations Social Development Goals ensure the achievement of food security by 2030. Food security is characterized by various aspects, however in this study we focus on economic vulnerability to food insecurity. In particular, we compared two measures: food insecurity levels as defined by the Integrated food security phase classification Global-Partners quantitative scale and those defined by the Latin American and Caribbean Food Security qualitative scale. The qualitative scale only measures nutritional status using specific questions, regardless of food expenditures, while the quantitative scale is based on the share of consumer expenditure spent on food (the ratio between food expenditure and total expenditure). From our analysis on 2018 Mexico data—therefore unaffected by the pandemic—59% of discrepancies were found between the two measures. The qualitative scale does not classify people who spend too much on food as being food insecure, so they are economically vulnerable about housing, healthcare and other important aspects of social life (access to food generate insecurity). The quantitative scale does not identify people who do not have access to high-quality nutrition because they must pay for other fixed expenses, for example for housing or healthcare. These two measures depict two aspects of economic vulnerability to food insecurity, and here we quantify this difference in a developing country. Future research should be at integrating these two aspects into one single indicator based on food and non-food expenditures, so to take into account both the two aspects by using only consumption expenditure data.

Institute of Environmental Planning
Environmental Behaviour and Planning
External Organisation(s)
Universita della Tuscia
University of Pisa
Social Indicators Research
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Social Sciences(all), Developmental and Educational Psychology, Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous), Sociology and Political Science
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
Electronic version(s) (Access: Closed)