Chandana Maitra, Prasada Rao,  School of Economics Discussion Paper No. 531 August 2014, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

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This paper examines the association between two alternative indicators of food access-traditional calorie-based indicators which provide objective data and the experiential indicators which address the psychological dimensions of food insecurity. In the process of modelling the relationship between the two indicators, the study also identifies the determinants of experience-based food security and provides a simple mechanism to predict a household’s food security status, given certain economic and socio-demographic characteristics of the household. The entire exercise is based on the information collected from a survey of 500 randomly selected slum households of Kolkata in 2010-11. The experience-based indicator of food security was constructed following the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module (US HFSSM). A nine-item food security scale was constructed, based on which households were classified as highly food secure, marginally food secure, moderately food insecure and severely food insecure. The modelling framework is based on recursive simultaneous ordered probit model with continuous and binary endogenous explanatory variables. Results indicate that the two alternative indicators are aligned in the same direction. The paper has a strong policy emphasis since it establishes the nutritional relevance of the experiential food security indicator and at the same time identifies possible threats to household food security which include lack of assets, low level of education, female headship of households and high dependency ratio in the household. The modelling framework also allows one to identify households at greater risk of food insecurity.