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Does Famine Matter for Aggregate Adolescent Human Capital Acquisition in Sub-Saharan Africa?

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  • Julius A. Agbor
  • Gregory N. Price

Abstract

type="main" xml:lang="en"> To the extent that in utero and childhood malnutrition negatively affects later stage mental and physical health, it can possibly constrain later stage human capital acquisition, which is an important driver of economic growth. This paper considers the impact of famine on aggregate adolescent human capital formation in sub-Saharan Africa. We parameterize a joint adolescent human capital and food nutrition production function to estimate the effects of famine on years of primary school completed by individuals aged 15–19. Mixed fixed and random coefficient parameter estimates for 32 sub-Saharan African countries between 1980 and 2010 reveal that years of primary school completed by adolescents is proportional to the quantity of food and nutrition produced during childhood and in utero. This suggests that declines in food production and nutrition associated with famine in sub-Saharan Africa have large negative effects on the acquisition of human capital by adolescents and on long-run material living standards. Our findings show that there is yet another consequence to famine, a long-run reduction in adolescent human capital, and this should reinforce the case for strong food security programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Julius A. Agbor & Gregory N. Price, 2014. "Does Famine Matter for Aggregate Adolescent Human Capital Acquisition in Sub-Saharan Africa?," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 26(3), pages 454-467, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:afrdev:v:26:y:2014:i:3:p:454-467
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    Cited by:

    1. Arne Bigsten, 2018. "Determinants of the Evolution of Inequality in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 27(1), pages 127-148.
    2. Gregory N. Price, 2019. "Does Productivity in the Formal Food Sector Drive Human Ebola Virus Infections in Sub‐Saharan Africa?," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 31(2), pages 167-178, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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