Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)


The purpose of this bulletin is to determine whether changes have been taking place in the United States' demand for food as a whole, and for several important foods considered separately, over the past 40 years.

The evidence indicates that the trend of total expenditures for food, expressed as percentages of the national disposable income (income minus personal income taxes) declined 5 to 10 percent from 1910 to 1940.

This does not necessarily mean that the demand for food also declined. The price elasticity of the demand for food is less than unity, so total expenditures could have declined merely as a result of the slight increase in the per capita production of food that took place over the period. An increase in production cuts the demand curve at a low point, and, if the demand curve is inelastic, reduces total expenditures as well as prices.



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