Nutrition as a Public Good

Three reasons why Nutrition could be regarded a Public Good

First, there ae major extenalities generated from malnutrition (for the next generation–undernourished mothers give birth to undernourished babies).

Second there are major information asymmetries that consumers have to deal with (often parents they don’t know their children are undernourished or the claims of food manufacturers are not counterbalanced by public information making informed choice difficult).

Third, there is a capital market failure in that parents cannot borrow for their infant’s nutrition in the promise of repayment when they earn higher wages in the marketplace 20 years later

Lawrence Haddad, on Nutrition, in the comments section of a post lamenting the absence of private sector involvement in the fight against malnutrition in India. In a country that has seen commercial ventures with tremendous spread in rural areas such as Parle and AMUL, it is sad if there isn’t more collaboration in this area…


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