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RELIGION, FOOD CHOICES AND DEMAND SEASONALITY: EVIDENCE FROM THE ETHIOPIAN MILK MARKET

Eline D'Haene (), Sam Desiere, Marijke D'Haese, Wim Verbeke and Koen Schoors

Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium from Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Abstract: The impact of religious behaviour on food systems in developing economies has been understated in scholarly studies. With its different Christian, Islamic, and traditional faiths, Ethiopia emerges as a natural experiment to investigate the impact of religious practices on demand. The inclusion of livestock products in Ethiopian diets is extremely low, even by African standards; a phenomenon often explained by supply and marketing problems combined with low income levels. We deviate from this dominant narrative and single out the impact of religion. We show how fasting practices of Orthodox Christians, the largest religious group, affect milk intake decisions and channels through which consumed milk is sourced. Employing countrywide data collected by the Living Standards Measurement Studies, we find, as expected, that the Orthodox fasting adversely affect milk consumption and decreases the share of milk sourced from own production in Orthodox families, an effect we quantify in this paper. Moreover, we observe spillover effects of Orthodox fasting on other religious groups in dominant Orthodox localities. Our findings improve the understanding of the broader societal implication of religiously inspired consumption rituals and underscore the challenges resulting from religion-induced demand cycles to design policies that aim at developing the livestock sector.

Pages: 53 pages
Date: 2019-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-agr, nep-dev and nep-isf
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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Related works:
Working Paper: Religion, food choices, and demand seasonality: Evidence from the Ethiopian milk market (2018) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:rug:rugwps:19/969

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