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Children's stunting in sub-Saharan Africa: Is there an externality effect of high fertility?

Author

Listed:
  • Øystein Kravdal

    (Universitetet i Oslo)

  • Ivy Kodzi

    (Ohio State University)

Abstract

A positive relationship between the number of siblings and a child’s chance of being stunted has been seen in several studies. It is possible that individual stunting risks are also raised by high fertility in the community, partly because of the impact of aggregate fertility on the local economy, but this issue has not been addressed in earlier investigations. In this study we estimate the independent effect of the child dependency ratio in the province (or governorate, region, or larger geopolitical zone within a country), using DHS data on up to 145,000 children in 152 provinces in 23 countries with at least two such surveys. The data design allows inclusion of lagged province variables and province fixed effects (to control for constant unobserved province characteristics). Three types of regression models for a child’s chance of being stunted are estimated. Some estimates suggest an adverse effect of the current child dependency ratio, net of the child’s number of siblings, while others do not point in this direction. When the child dependency ratio measured in an earlier survey is included instead, no significant effects appear. Thus, we conclude that there is only weak support for the idea that a child’s stunting risk may be raised by high fertility in the community.

Suggested Citation

  • Øystein Kravdal & Ivy Kodzi, 2011. "Children's stunting in sub-Saharan Africa: Is there an externality effect of high fertility?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 25(18), pages 565-594, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:25:y:2011:i:18
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    File URL: https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol25/18/25-18.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mahesh Karra & David Canning & Joshua Wilde, 2015. "A Simulation Model of the Effect of Fertility Reduction on Economic Growth in Africa," Working Papers 0315, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0638-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; consequences of high fertility; externality; fertility; multilevel model; siblings; stunting;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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