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The Effect of Economic Crises on Nutritional Status: Evidence from Russia

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Author Info

  • Stillman, Steven

    ()
    (University of Otago)

  • Thomas, Duncan

    ()
    (Duke University)

Abstract

This paper uses data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) to examine the relationship between nutritional status and both longer-run household resources and short-run fluctuations in household resources. We evaluate six measures of nutrition – gross energy intake, two dimensions of diet quality, body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of net energy intake for adults, and for children, weight for height and stature. Our finding indicate a clear positive effect of longer-run resources on energy intake, diet composition, adult BMI, and child stature. Between 1996 and 2000, Russian households experienced a dramatic decline in income and expenditure and then an equally dramatic rise. We exploit the panel nature of RLMS to identify the causal effect of changes in household resources on nutritional status. In contrast to the large decline in expenditure in 1998, nutritional status appears to be very resilient to variation in household resources and this is reflected in gross energy intake, adult BMI, and child stature, which all change very little as expenditure deviates from its long-run average. Diet composition, however, does change in response to transitory variation in household resources. It appears that individuals and households are able to weather large economic crises at least in terms of maintaining body mass and energy intake.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1092.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2008, 118 (531), 1385–1417
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1092

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Keywords: economic crises; nutrition; consumption smoothing; economic shocks; caloric intake; BMI; Russia;

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References

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  1. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  2. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
  3. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  4. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  5. Robert W. Fogel, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 4638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1992. "Household Composition, Labor Markets, and Labor Demand: Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 287-322, March.
  8. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  9. Gersovitz, Mark, 1983. "Savings and Nutrition at Low Incomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(5), pages 841-55, October.
  10. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea, 1994. "Poverty, Food Consumption, and Nutrition during the Transition to the Market Economy in Eastern Europe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 297-302, May.
  11. Steven Stillman, 2001. "The Response of Consumption in Russian Households to Economic Shocks," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 412, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  12. Bouis, Howarth E. & Haddad, Lawrence J., 1992. "Are estimates of calorie-income fxelasticities too high? : A recalibration of the plausible range," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 333-364, October.
  13. Duncan Thomas & Elizabeth Frankenberg & James P. Smith, 2000. "Lost But Not Forgotten: Attrition and Follow-up in the Indonesian Family Life Survey," Working Papers 00-03, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  14. Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Empirical Modeling of Household and Family Decisions," Papers 95-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Brainerd, Elizabeth & Cutler, David M, 2005. "Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 4900, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven & Le, Trinh, 2008. "CPI bias and real living standards in Russia during the transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 140-160, August.
  3. Guy Lacroix & Natalia Radtchenko, 2011. "The changing intra-household resource allocation in Russia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 85-106, January.
  4. Cameron, Michael P. & Lim, Steven, 2005. "Migration, Household Composition, and Child Welfare in Rural Northeast Thailand," 2005 Conference, August 26-27, 2005, Nelson, New Zealand 98508, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  5. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Schady, Norbert, 2008. "Aggregate economic shocks, child schooling and child health," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4701, The World Bank.
  6. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Sinha, Nistha & Buvinic, Mayra, 2010. "How do women weather economic shocks ? a review of the evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5496, The World Bank.
  7. Stillman, Steven, 2006. "Health and nutrition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the decade of transition: A review of the literature," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 104-146, January.

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