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While I was studying in New Delhi, I used to pine for food from my homestate (may be even hometown or just homefood!). That is what migrants usually do and you find great markets in some pockets of bigger cities which cater to migrants preferences for certain kinds of food. This explains why there is a China Town, a Little India or a Little Italy in almost all bigger cities in North America. Hell, there is even little Madras in an area called Rasta Peth in Pune! New Delhi’s Delhi Hat has food stalls from all over India, but I am pretty sure most of the visitors flock to their state’s food stall. Does such kind of food preference have any economic implications at large? The answer is yes according to David Atkin from Yale.

In an innovative paper, he shows that habit persistence in food preferences among people from different regions in India imply much lower gains from trade than otherwise, should we decide to allow a freer movement of commodities between states. It also might illustrate how our somewhat fixed preferences for certain kinds of food may hold us back from getting the necessary nutrition for a healthy life!

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