Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Steven T. Yen

Committee Members

Kimberly L. Jensen, Christopher D. Clark

Abstract

Consumer expenditure on food away from home in the United States has grown substantially in recent decades. Changes in the food service system, increased complexity of family structure, and the food policies made by government agencies have continued to influence the marketing, distribution, retailing, and demand for food products and the food industry. This study explores consumption behavior on food away from home (FAFH) and determines the differentiated impacts of economic and demographic variables on FAFH by type of meal and by type of facility among different household types. Each of the two systems of expenditures is estimated with two alternative econometric procedures to accommodate censoring in the dependent variables: the trivariate Tobit estimator and the multivariate sample selection estimator. Data for this study come from the 2008 and 2009 Consumer Expenditure Surveys, the most recent U.S. national household expenditure surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Joint statistical significance of error correlations among equations justifies estimation of the sample selection systems. The opposite marginal effects on probabilities and expenditure levels of some variables highlight the advantage of the sample selection system over the Tobit system. Segmentation of the sample by household types is also justified with formal statistical tests. The empirical results indicate that the effects of demographic and socioeconomic factors on FAFH consumption vary by type of meal and by type of facility. Income, work hours, race, education, geographical region, and household composition are important factors. Food stamps have no impact on FAFH for married couples without children and single parenthood has conflicting effects on probabilities and conditional levels of expenditures.

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