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Poverty, Undernutrition, and Child Mortality: Some Inter-Regional Puzzles and their Implications for Research and Policy

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  • Klasen, Stephan

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between measures of income poverty, undernourishment, childhood undernutrition, and child mortality in developing countries. While there is, as expected, a close aggregate correlation between these measures of deprivation, the measures generate some inter-regional paradoxes. Income poverty and child mortality is highest in Africa, but childhood undernutrition is by far the highest in South Asia, while the share of people with insufficient calories (undernourishment) is highest in the Caribbean. The paper finds that standard explanations cannot account for these inter-regional paradoxes, particularly the ones related to undernourishment and childhood undernutrition. The paper suggests that measurement issues related to the way undernourishment and childhood undernutrition is measured might play a significant role in affecting these inter-regional puzzles and points to implications for research and policy. --

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 with number 17.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec07:6540

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Keywords: Millennium Development Goals; Undernutrition; Child Mortality; Poverty;

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  1. Kenneth Harttgen & Mark Misselhorn, 2006. "A Multilevel Approach to Explain Child Mortality and Undernutrition in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 152, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Misselhorn, Mark & Klasen, Stephan, 2006. "Determinants of the Growth Semi-Elasticity of Poverty Reduction," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2006 15, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  3. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
  4. Sen, Amartya, 1988. "The concept of development," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 9-26 Elsevier.
  5. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
  6. Svedberg, Peter, 1999. "841 Million Undernourished?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(12), pages 2081-2098, December.
  7. Guilkey, David K. & Riphahn, Regina T., 1998. "The determinants of child mortality in the Philippines: estimation of a structural model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 281-305, August.
  8. Smith, Lisa C & Haddad, Lawrence, 2002. "How Potent Is Economic Growth in Reducing Undernutrition? What Are the Pathways of Impact? New Cross-Country Evidence," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 55-76, October.
  9. Klasen, Stephan, 2000. "Measuring Poverty and Deprivation in South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 33-58, March.
  10. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Poverty and policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1130, The World Bank.
  11. Mark McGillivray, 2005. "Measuring Non-Economic Well-Being Achievement ," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(2), pages 337-364, 06.
  12. Haddad, Lawrence James & Alderman, Harold & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2002. "Reducing child undernutrition," FCND briefs 137, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Svedberg, Peter, 2002. "Undernutrition Overestimated," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 5-36, October.
  14. Adams, Richard Jr., 2004. "Economic Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Estimating the Growth Elasticity of Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 1989-2014, December.
  15. Osmani, Siddiq & Sen, Amartya, 2003. "The hidden penalties of gender inequality: fetal origins of ill-health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 105-121, January.
  16. Smith, Lisa C. & Ramakrishnan, Usha & Ndiaye, Aida & Haddad, Lawrence James & Martorell, Reynaldo, 2003. "The importance of women's status for child nutrition in developing countries:," Research reports 131, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  17. Brinkman, Henk-Jan & Drukker, J.W. & Slot, Brigitte, 1997. "GDP per capita and the biological standard of living in contemporary developing countries," GGDC Research Memorandum 199735, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Spears, Dean, 2012. "Height and cognitive achievement among Indian children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 210-219.
  2. Stephan Klasen, 2006. "Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction: Measurement Issues using Income and Non-Income Indicators," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 142, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Hartwig de Haen & Stephan Klasen & Matin Qaim, 2011. "What do we really know? Metrics for food insecurity and undernutrition," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 88, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  4. Kenneth Harttgen & Stephan Klasen & Sebastian Vollmer, 2012. "Economic Growth and Child Undernutrition in Africa," Working Papers 2012-013, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP/RBA).
  5. Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2010. "Health trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: Conflicting evidence from infant mortality rates and adult heights," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 273-288, July.
  6. Sabina Alkire and Maria Emma Santos, 2010. "Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A New Index for Developing Countries," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp038, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Sabina Alkire and Maria Emma Santos, 2013. "Measuring Acute Poverty in the Developing World: Robustness and Scope of the Multidimensional Poverty Index," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp059, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  10. Grosse, Melanie & Harttgen, Kenneth & Klasen, Stephan, 2008. "Measuring Pro-Poor Growth in Non-Income Dimensions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 1021-1047, June.

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