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Nutritional status and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa, 1950-1980

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  • Alexander Moradi

Abstract

Nutrition and health are important dimensions of human well-being. Both aspects are complementary to income and deserve attention in its own right. However, there is an interrelationship between economic development and nutritional status which this study aims to investigate. We use a population`s mean height as an indicator of nutritional intake net of claims due to diseases. Based on more than 200,000 women from 28 sub-Saharan African countries, we find that nutritional status was in a good state in the 1960s. However, stagnating and decreasing mean heights indicate a poor development. In fact, the entire Southwest and Southeast of the African continent went to a nutritional crisis. In a regression analysis, we model the entire span of bodily growth and find a significant and very robust influence of economic growth on final adult height at two distinct periods: during the first years of life and puberty. We also take into account the possible endogeneity of economic development due to increased productivity, but do not find evidence of endogeneity. National food supply in form of high quality proteins and the disease environment are other important determinants of nutritional status.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number GPRG-WPS-046.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:gprg-wps-046

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Keywords: Nutrition; Health; Anthropometry; Living Standards; Sub-Saharan Africa;

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  1. Brinkman, Henk Jan & Drukker, J. W. & Slot, Brigitte, 1988. "Height and income: A new method for the estimation of historical national income series," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 227-264, July.
  2. Kalipeni, Ezekiel & Oppong, Joseph, 1998. "The refugee crisis in Africa and implications for health and disease: a political ecology approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(12), pages 1637-1653, June.
  3. Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1996. "Wealthier is Healthier," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 841-868.
  4. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-95, June.
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  6. Adolfo Meisel & Margarita Vega, 2004. "A Tropical Sucess Story: A Century Of Improvements In The Biological Standard Of Living, Colombia 1910-2002," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 001937, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  7. Baten, Jorg & Murray, John E., 2000. "Heights of Men and Women in 19th-Century Bavaria: Economic, Nutritional, and Disease Influences," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 351-369, October.
  8. Moradi, Alexander, 2009. "Towards an Objective Account of Nutrition and Health in Colonial Kenya: A Study of Stature in African Army Recruits and Civilians, 1880–1980," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 719-754, September.
  9. McEvoy, Brian P. & Visscher, Peter M., 2009. "Genetics of human height," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 294-306, December.
  10. Komlos, John, 1998. "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 779-802, September.
  11. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
  12. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Height, Health, and Inequality: The Distribution of Adult Heights in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 468-74, May.
  13. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Schneider, Ryan, 1996. "Historical note on height and parental consumption decisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 279-283, February.
  15. Ian Timæus & Momodou Jasseh, 2004. "Adult mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from demographic and health surveys," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 757-772, November.
  16. Tiffen, Mary, 2003. "Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Agriculture, Urbanization and Income Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 1343-1366, August.
  17. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 2000. "Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries: a cross-country analysis," Research reports 111, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  18. Moradi, Alexander & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Data and New Insights from Anthropometric Estimates," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1233-1265, August.
  19. Weir, David R., 1993. "Parental Consumption Decisions and Child Health During the Early French Fertility Decline, 1790–1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 259-274, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard Akresh & Sonia Bhalotra & Marinella Leone & Una Osili, 2012. "War and Stature: Growing Up During the Nigerian Civil War," HiCN Working Papers 113, Households in Conflict Network.
  2. Denis Cogneau & R�mi Jedwab, 2012. "Commodity Price Shocks and Child Outcomes: The 1990 Cocoa Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(3), pages 507 - 534.
  3. Cogneau, Denis & Jedwab, Rémi, 2008. "Family Income and Child Outcomes: The 1990 Cocoa Price Shock in Cote d’Ivoire," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4319, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Jerven , Morten & Austin , Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche , Chibuike & Frankema , Ewout & Fourie , Johan & Inikori , Joseph & Moradi , Alexander & Hillbom , Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History: Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," African Economic History Working Paper 1/2012, African Economic History Network.
  5. Alexander Moradi, 2010. "Selective Mortality or Growth after Childhood? What Really is Key to Understand the Puzzlingly Tall Adult Heights in Sub-Saharan Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-17, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Blum, Matthias, 2013. "The influence of inequality on the standard of living: Worldwide anthropometric evidence from the 19th and 20th centuries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 436-452.
  7. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2013. "Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-204.
  8. repec:hal:gmonwp:halshs-00967328 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Rouanet, Léa & Cogneau, Denis, 2011. "Living Conditions in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Western Africa 1925-1985: What do Survey Data on Height Stature tell us?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4300, Paris Dauphine University.
  10. Kalle Hirvonen, 2013. "Measuring catch-up growth in malnourished populations," Working Paper Series 5913, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
  11. Klasen, Stephan & Günther, Isabel, 2007. "Measuring Chronic Non-Income Poverty," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 10, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  12. Casabonne, Ursula & Kenny, Charles, 2012. "The Best Things in Life are (Nearly) Free: Technology, Knowledge, and Global Health," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 21-35.

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