Over the past few decades, India has witnessed a paradoxical trend: even as real incomes have grown, average calorie intake has declined. UMass Amherst Economics Professor Deepankar Basu and co-author Amit Basole ’12 PhD, investigate this phenomenon using a panel data set for 28 Indian states running over the period 1993-2009 in their paper, The Calorie Consumption Puzzle in India: An Empirical Investigation. Results show that a food budget squeeze (rapidly increasing expenditure of non-food essential items like education, transportation, and healthcare that leaves less for food) and declining home grown food consumption can explain the puzzle. The authors do not find evidence for strong effects of diet diversification or declining calorie needs. Their research has been cited in Bloomberg BusinessWeek (10/22/12) and the Times of India (10/27/12).
On October 27, Professor Gerald Friedman spoke to the 25th annual convention of Physicians for a National Health Plan in San Francisco about his plan to finance a universal single-payer health care system as proposed in HR 676: the United States National Health Insurance Act. After taking account of nearly $600 billion in administrative savings under the single-payer system, Friedman proposed funding the program with a combination of payroll taxes, a surtax on high incomes, and a financial transactions tax as proposed by UMass Amherst Economics Professor Robert Pollin. Friedman’s presentation was warmly received by the nearly 500 conference attendees.