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The Nutritional Cost of Beef Bans in India

  • Economics Discussion Papers
  • March 29, 2022
  • Aparajita Dasgupta, Farhan Majid, Wafa Hakim Orman

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Beef is a rich source of heme iron and one of its cheapest sources in India. We use the state-level rollout of beef possession and sale bans as a natural experiment to study the health consequences of formalizing a religious restriction as law. Leveraging the intertemporal and spatial variation in these bans we invoke a triple difference-in-differences estimation framework and compare women’s hemoglobin levels in groups that traditionally eat beef— Muslims, Christians, and lower-caste Hindus—with those in groups that do not. We find that bans reduce women’s hemoglobin in beef eating communities by 3 mg/dl and increase severe anemia by 27 percent.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka