Does consumption of tobacco and alcohol affect household food security? Evidence from rural India
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Using a nationally representative household-level dataset on consumption expenditure, this paper examines the crowding-out effects of tobacco and alcohol spending on food and non-food consumption in rural India. We found a positive relationship between spending on these temptation goods and household income, but in proportionate terms the poor and socially-disadvantaged households spent more on such goods compared to others. In general, their consumption crowded out food expenditure but not as much as non-food expenditure. Tobacco expenditure crowded out more of consumer durables followed by foodgrains, healthcare and education. However, among the poor, foodgrains were traded-off more. Likewise, spending on alcohol also crowded out foodgrains, but the effects were larger for consumer durables and starker among the poor. Across social groups too, consumption of tobacco as well as alcohol led to a reallocation of budgets with consumer durables being most displaced followed by foodgrains. On the whole, the crowding out effects were larger for tobacco than alcohol and were greater for households belonging to the lower rungs of both income and social order. We identified that such crowding-out effects operated through peer effects or social interactions; hence the key inference is that government interventions aimed towards controlling tobacco or alcohol consumption would be more effective if these targeted peer groups and their group leaders.
KeywordsTobacco Alcohol Food security Rural India
We would like to thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments. We are grateful to Jeffrey Wooldridge, J.M.C Santos Silva, Rijo M. John, Bharat Ramaswami, Devesh Roy and Digvijay S. Negi for their valuable suggestions. The assistance received from Vister Joshi is also appreciated. We also acknowledge the valuable support of staff of ICAR-NIAP. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of their organization while errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of authors.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that this manuscript is original, has not been published before and is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere. We further wish to confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication and there has been no financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome. The manuscript has been read and approved by all named authors. We further confirm that the order of authors listed in the manuscript has been approved by all of us. We confirm that we have given due consideration to the protection of intellectual property associated with this work and that there are no impediments to publication, including the timing of publication, with respect to intellectual property.
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