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Abstract

World grains prices dramatically increased between 2007 and 2008, but rice prices especially surged. Utilizing the much larger spike in rice prices than in wheat, this article compares the response of Indian households consuming rice as the staple grain to households consuming wheat. Households worse affected by the crisis sacrificed diet diversity, spent less on labor-saving durable goods, sent fewer children to school, and increased the amount of children performing domestic work. These results demonstrate a direct link between food insecurity and human capital investments, and suggest significant non-health costs to the rising food prices of the past two decades.

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