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Journal section "Regional economics"

A Forecasting Assessment of the Affordability of a Balanced Diet for Residents of Russian Regions: An Agent-Based Approach

Mashkova A.L., Dukhi N., Nevolin I.V., Savina O.A.

Volume 14, Issue 6, 2021

Mashkova A.L., Dukhi N., Nevolin I.V., Savina O.A. A forecasting assessment of the affordability of a balanced diet for residents of Russian regions: An agent-based approach. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2021, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 107–125. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2021.6.78.6

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2021.6.78.6

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
Amid the coronavirus pandemic in Russia, the financial situation of households is deteriorating, as well as their ability to provide themselves with a full-fledged and balanced diet with an optimal content of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The aim of the work is to conduct a forecasting assessment of the affordability of a balanced diet for households in the context of various scenarios of the economic and epidemiological situation. The applied research methodology involves creating a comprehensive agent-based model reflecting the course of demographic and economic processes that determine food production, people’s income and health. When assessing the affordability of a balanced diet, we consider the number and income of households and the share of income allocated for the purchase of foodstuffs. The information content of the model is based on data arrays available at the websites of the Federal State Statistics Service of Russia, ministries and departments; we also use the data of a product prices monitoring conducted specifically for this purpose. We develop balanced diets that ensure the intake of 75 and 90% of key vitamins and minerals with the necessary caloric content. The products included in the diets are optimized by price; on the basis of the results of the prices monitoring, we estimate the cost of the diets and their affordability for the population in each region of the Russian Federation, according to the data as of 2020. The affordability of diets in different regions varies greatly: from 35% in the Chechen Republic to 95% in Moscow, with an average value of 83%. Scenario-based modeling of the affordability of high-quality food for Russian population is carried out for the period through to 2025. Under the optimistic scenario, there is a decrease in the affordability of diets to 81%; under the conservative and pessimistic scenarios, we observe a steady decline in the affordability of vitamin diets to 76 and 72%, respectively. The results we have obtained indicate serious risk of deterioration of the quality of nutrition of Russian residents; it is associated with falling incomes and rising food prices. Besides, within the framework of scenario-based calculations, we have determined the amount of subsidies to be provided to low-income population groups so that they could afford a balanced diet

Keywords

standard of living, agent-based modeling, food affordability, balanced diet, computational experiment, prices monitoring

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