A tobit analysis of factors affecting vegetable expenditure patterns in U.S. households

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Household vegetable expenditure patterns are examined using data from the 1972-1974 Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Diary Survey. Tobit analysis is employed to measure the effects of changes in household socioeconomic and demographic characteristics on changes in the probability of purchase and the magnitude of expenditure for vegetables. The study examines expenditure for the major processed forms and five vegetable subgroups.

The results indicate that household total annual income and age-sex composition are important factors explaining vegetable expenditure patterns. Increases in income are associated with increases in vegetable expenditure, and economies of size occur in households with adult females. The number of household members in other age-sex categories are found to be important for expenditures on particular vegetable forms and subgroups. Mean expenditure for vegetables is affected by U.S. region, population density of residence, employment status, race, food stamp purchase, and educational level. Changes in household characteristics are found to affect probability of purchasing vegetables and the magnitude of expenditure. Household vegetable expenditure profiles are illustrated as a means of applying the results.