The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants
AbstractAnthropologists have long documented substantial and persistent differences across social groups in the preferences and taboos for particular foods. One natural question to ask is whether such food cultures matter in an economic sense. In particular, can culture constrain caloric intake and contribute to malnutrition? To answer this question, I first document that inter-state migrants within India consume fewer calories per Rupee of food expenditure compared to their non-migrant neighbors, even for households with very low caloric intake. I then form a chain of evidence in support of an explanation based on culture: that migrants make nutritionally-suboptimal food choices due to cultural preferences for the traditional foods of their origin states. First, I focus on the preferences themselves and document that migrants bring their origin-state food preferences with them when they migrate. Second, I link together the findings on caloric intake and preferences by showing that the gap in caloric intake between locals and migrants is related to the suitability and intensity of the migrants' origin-state food preferences: the most adversely affected migrants (households in which both husband and wife migrated to a village where their origin-state preferences are unsuited to the local price vector) would consume 7 percent more calories if they possessed the same preferences as their neighbors.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19196.
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Note: DEV POL
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Atkin, David, 2013. "The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 9542, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- David Atkin, 2013. "The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants," Working Papers 1028, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
- O10 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
- Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2013-07-15 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2013-07-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-CUL-2013-07-15 (Cultural Economics)
- NEP-CWA-2013-07-15 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-DEV-2013-07-15 (Development)
- NEP-MIG-2013-07-15 (Economics of Human Migration)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bart J. Bronnenberg & Jean-Pierre H. Dube & Matthew Gentzkow, 2010. "The Evolution of Brand Preferences: Evidence from Consumer Migration," NBER Working Papers 16267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Atkin, 2013.
"Trade, Tastes, and Nutrition in India,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1629-63, August.
- Subramanian, S. & Deaton, A., 1994.
"The Demand for Food and Calories,"
175, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
- De Groote, Hugo & Kimenju, Simon Chege, 2008. "Comparing consumer preferences for color and nutritional quality in maize: Application of a semi-double-bound logistic model on urban consumers in Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 362-370, August.
- Paola Giuliano, 2005.
"Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?,"
2005 Meeting Papers
189, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Paola Giuliano, 2007. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 927-952, 09.
- Giuliano, Paola, 2006. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 2042, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Paarlberg, Robert, 2010. "Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195389593.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- #HEJC papers for August 2013
by academichealtheconomists in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-07-31 23:00:48
- Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry, 2013.
"What separates us? Sources of resistance to globalization,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
9614, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2013. "What separates us? Sources of resistance to globalization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1196-1231, November.
- Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2013. "What Separates Us? Sources of Resistance to Globalization," Working Papers 2013-26, CEPII research center.
- Hannah Pieters & Andrea Guariso & Anneleen Vandeplas, 2013. "Conceptual framework for the analysis of the determinants of food and nutrition security," FoodSecure Working Papers 13, LEI Wageningen UR.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.