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Early Childhood Nutrition Increases Adult Wages


  • John Hoddinott


A study in Guatemala presents the first direct evidence of the effects of early childhood nutrition programs on adult economic productivity and incomes. The research shows that feeding young children a caloric, micronutrient-enriched nutritional supplement leads to significant increases in wage rates for men as adults. Boys who received the supplement in the first two years of life earned on average 46 per cent higher wages as adults. Boys who received the supplement in their first three years earned 37 per cent higher wages on average. Those who first received the supplement after age three did not gain any economic benefits as adults. The study demonstrates that early childhood nutrition is not only crucial for the physical growth of children, but is also a long-term driver of economic growth and a wise economic investment. The study also provides compelling evidence that the first two years of life are the window of opportunity when nutrition programs have an enormous impact on a child's development, with life-long benefits. The study was conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute in collaboration with researchers from Emory University, the Institute of Nutrition in Central America and Panama, the University of Pennsylvania, and Middlebury College"." Copyright (c) 2009 The Author. Journal compilation (c) The Agricultural Economics Society and the European Association of Agricultural Economists 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • John Hoddinott, 2009. "Early Childhood Nutrition Increases Adult Wages," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 8(SpecialIs), pages 34-37, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:eurcho:v:8:y:2009:i:specialissuechina:p:34-37

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Finger, Robert, 2010. "Evidence of slowing yield growth - The example of Swiss cereal yields," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 175-182, April.
    2. Erwin Schmid & Franz Sinabell, 2004. "On the Choice of Farm Management Practices after the Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy in 2003," WIFO Working Papers 233, WIFO.
    3. Stefan Mann, 2005. "Different Perspectives on Cross-Compliance," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 14(4), pages 471-482, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rieger, Matthias, 2015. "Risk aversion, time preference and health production: Theory and empirical evidence from Cambodia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 1-15.
    2. Atsbeha, Daniel Muluwork & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Rickertsen, Kyrre, 2015. "Can prolonged breastfeeding duration impair child growth? Evidence from rural Ethiopia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 46-53.
    3. Headey, Derek D., 2013. "Developmental Drivers of Nutritional Change: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 76-88.

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