A Review of Hunger Indices and Methods to Monitor Country Commitment to Fighting Hunger

Masset, E.
Food Policy 36.suppl.
Publisher Elsevier
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Several indices measuring hunger and progress in achieving hunger eradication have been proposed in the literature. This article reviews existing hunger indices and critically assesses their quality against a number of desirable properties.

Hunger indices are found to be unsatisfactory in a number of ways: they ignore distributional issues; they neglect the occurrence of food and health shocks; and are sometimes based on unreliable data. Anthropometric measurements, stunting in particular, emerge as powerful indicators of hunger and are ideal for addressing a number of policy relevant issues. The article also introduces a conceptual framework for an index measuring country commitment to fighting hunger. The constitutive elements of this index are illustrated: political will, anti-hunger policies and programmes. Suggestions are made on how a commitment index can be built and what are the data requirements.

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Edoardo Masset

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