The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants
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Anthropologists have documented substantial and persistent differences in food preferences across social groups. My paper asks whether such food cultures can constrain caloric intake? I first document that interstate migrants within India consume fewer calories per rupee of food expenditure compared to their neighbors. Second, I show that migrants bring their origin-state food preferences with them. Third, I link these findings by showing that the gap in caloric intake between locals and migrants depends on the suitability and intensity of the migrants' origin-state preferences. The most affected migrants would consume seven percent more calories if they possessed their neighbors' preferences.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Economics
American Economic Review
American Economic Association
Atkin, David. “ The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants.” American Economic Review 106, no. 4 (April 2016): 1144–1181. © 2016 American Economic Association
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