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Economic Growth and Child Undernutrition in Africa

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Author Info

  • Kenneth Harttgen

    ()
    (ETH Zurich, Nadel)

  • Stephan Klasen

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Göttingen)

  • Sebastian Vollmer

    ()
    (Institute of Macroeconomics, University of Hannover and Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health)

Abstract

Abstract: Despite recent improvements in economic performance, undernutrition rates in Africa appear to have improved much less and rather inconsistently across the continent. We examine to what extent there is an empirical linkage between income growth and reductions of child undernutrition in Africa. We do this by pooling all DHS surveys for African countries, control for other correlates of undernutrition, and add country-level GDP per capita. We find that increases in GDP per capita are associated with lower individual probabilities of being underweight of about 2.5 percent per one hundred dollars (4.1 percent for the probability of being stunted). This association is economically meaningful, but other explanatory variables such as mother’s education, socioeconomic status, and poor mother’s nutritional status are quantitatively more important than economic growth and appear to contribute to a slowing of progress in reducing undernutrition in Africa.

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File URL: http://web.undp.org/africa/knowledge/WP-2012-013-Harttgen-klassen-economic-growth-undernutrition.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP/RBA) in its series Working Papers with number 2012-013.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rac:wpaper:2012-013

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Postal: One United Nations Plaza, New York, New York 10017
Web page: http://web.undp.org/africa/
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Related research

Keywords: Undernutrition; child care; economic growth; Africa;

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References

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  1. Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2001. " Child Growth in the Time of Drought," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(4), pages 409-36, September.
  2. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
  3. Sonia Bhalotra & Sam Rawlings, 2010. "Intergenerational persistence in health in developing countries: the penalty of gender inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/249, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  4. Klasen, Stephan, 2007. "Poverty, Undernutrition, and Child Mortality: Some Inter-Regional Puzzles and their Implications for Research and Policy," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 17, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  5. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
  6. David Stifel & Luc Christiaensen, 2007. "Tracking Poverty Over Time in the Absence of Comparable Consumption Data," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 317-341, June.
  7. Haddad, Lawrence James & Alderman, Harold & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2002. "Reducing child undernutrition," FCND briefs 137, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Timothy M. Watts, 2007. "Long Run Health Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France," NBER Working Papers 12895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Narayan Sastry, 2004. "Trends in socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in developing countries: The case of child Survival in São Paulo, Brazil," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 443-464, August.
  11. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
  13. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
  14. Misselhorn, Mark & Harttgen, Kenneth, 2006. "A Multilevel Approach to Explain Child Mortality and Undernutrition in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2006 20, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  15. Alessandro Tarozzi & Aprajit Mahajan, 2005. "Child Nutrition in India in the Nineties: A Story of Increased Gender Inequality?," Discussion Papers 04-029, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  16. Kenneth Harttgen & Sebastian Vollmer, 2011. "Inequality Decomposition without Income or Expenditure Data: Using an Asset Index to Simulate Household Income," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2011-13, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  17. Sonia Bhalotra & Samantha Rawlings, 2009. "Gradients of the Intergenerational Transmission of Health in Developing Countries," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/218, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  18. Udry, Christopher, 1990. "Credit Markets in Northern Nigeria: Credit as Insurance in a Rural Economy," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 251-69, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Maria Carmela Lo Bue, 2014. "What drives child health improvements in Indonesian households? A micro-level perspective on complementarities in MDG achievements," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 155, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  2. Viridiana Garcia, 2012. "Children Malnutrition and Horizontal Inequalities in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Focus on Contrasting Domestic Trajectories," Working Papers 2012-019, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP/RBA).

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