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Labor and women's nutrition : a study of energy expenditure, fertility, and nutritional status in Ghana

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  • Higgins, Paul A
  • Alderman, Harold
  • DEC

Abstract

Economic approaches to health and nutrition have focused largely on measures of child nutrition and related variables (such as birth weight) as indicators of household production of nutritional outcomes. But when dealing with adult nutrition, economists have to address an issue that has generated tremendous controversy in the clinical nutrition literature. That issue is heterogeneity in an individual's energy expenditures. Preschoolers'energy expenditure also differs, but the differences are small enough to be ignored. Not so for adults, whose waking hours are devoted mostly to labor activities of which the energy costs vary enormously. Variables measuring time allocation to various types of labor tasks were used to proxy differences in energy expenditure. Parity has also been hypothesized to be an important determinant of female nutritional health in high fertility countries - with rapid reproductive cycling contributing to a cumulative nutritional decline. But the"maternal depletion syndrome"remains controversial. Much of the evidence to date has been impressionistic - or the results of studies based on small, nonrandom cohorts. Higgins and Alderman used a two-step instrumental variables technique to get consistent estimates of the structural parameters. Energy expenditure, as embodied in individual time allocations over the previous seven days, was found to be an important determinant of women's nutritional status. Time devoted to agricultural tasks, in particular, had a strong negative effect. The results also appear to confirm the existence of a maternal depletion syndrome. Perhaps more important, evidence was found of a substantial downward bias of the calorie-elasticity estimate when the energy expenditure proxies were excluded.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1009.

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Date of creation: 31 Oct 1992
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1009

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Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Health Economics&Finance; Agricultural Knowledge&Information Systems; Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Theory&Research;

References

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  1. Strauss, J. & Thonas, D., 1990. "The Shape Of The Calorie-Expenditure Curve," Papers, Yale - Economic Growth Center 595, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  2. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
  3. Folbre, Nancy, 1986. "Cleaning house : New perspectives on Households and Economic Development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 5-40, June.
  4. Haddad, Lawrence J & Bouis, Howarth E, 1991. "The Impact of Nutritional Status on Agricultural Productivity: Wage Evidence from the Philippines," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(1), pages 45-68, February.
  5. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1984. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 521-22, June.
  6. Guilkey, David K. & Popkin, Barry M. & Akin, John S. & Wong, Emelita L., 1989. "Prenatal care and pregnancy outcome in Cebu, Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 241-272, April.
  7. Pitt, Mark M, 1983. "Food Preferences and Nutrition in Rural Bangladesh," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 105-14, February.
  8. Alderman, Harold & Garcia, Marito, 1992. "Food security and health security : explaining the levels of nutrition in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 865, The World Bank.
  9. Robert William Fogel, 1993. "New Sources and New Techniques for the Study of Secular Trends in Nutritional Status, Health, Mortality, and the Process of Aging," NBER Historical Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 0026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Strauss, John, 1990. "Households, Communities, and Preschool Children's Nutrition Outcomes: Evidence from Rural Cote d'Ivoire," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 231-61, January.
  11. Folbre, Nancy R, 1984. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 518-20, June.
  12. Behrman, Jere R & Deolalikar, Anil B & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1988. "Nutrients: Impacts and Determinants," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 299-320, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth S. & Brown, Lynn R. & Feldstein, Hilary Sims & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1997. "Gender, property rights, and natural resources," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1303-1315, August.
  2. Margaret E. Grosh & Paul Glewwe, 1998. "Data Watch: The World Bank's Living Standards Measurement Study Household Surveys," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 187-196, Winter.

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