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Effectiveness of Food Subsidies in Raising Healthy Food Consumption: Public Distribution of Pulses in India

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  • Suman Chakrabarti
  • Avinash Kishore
  • Devesh Roy

Abstract

This paper provides evidence on the effectiveness of one of the most common policies to improve nutrition among the poor, that is, a food subsidy. We study the case of subsidies on pulses in select Indian states and their impact on consumption and ultimately nutrition (protein intake). As a natural experiment, we use the introduction of pulses into India’s Public Distribution System (PDS) where the variations in prices were brought about by the inclusion of pulses in the PDS in some states and not in others. Our difference in difference (DID) estimates show that change in the consumption of pulses because of their inclusion in the PDS, though statistically significant, was of a small order. The impact was not large enough to bring about any sizable difference in consumption of pulses or the total protein intake. The results withstand several robustness checks including randomized inference and triple differencing based on location and other consumer characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Suman Chakrabarti & Avinash Kishore & Devesh Roy, 2018. "Effectiveness of Food Subsidies in Raising Healthy Food Consumption: Public Distribution of Pulses in India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 100(5), pages 1427-1449.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:100:y:2018:i:5:p:1427-1449.
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    Cited by:

    1. P.K. Joshi & Avinash Kishore & Devesh Roy, 2016. "Making Pulses Affordable Again: Policy Options from the Farm to Retail in India," Working Papers id:11327, eSocialSciences.
    2. Susan Godlonton & Manuel A Hernandez & Mike Murphy, 2018. "Anchoring Bias in Recall Data: Evidence from Central America," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 100(2), pages 479-501.
    3. Merfeld, Joshua D., 2020. "Smallholders, Market Failures, and Agricultural Production: Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 13682, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Suman Chakrabarti & Samuel P. Scott & Harold Alderman & Purnima Menon & Daniel O. Gilligan, 2021. "Intergenerational nutrition benefits of India’s national school feeding program," Nature Communications, Nature, vol. 12(1), pages 1-10, December.

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