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The growth of poor children in China 1991–2000: why food subsidies may matter

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  • Lars Osberg
  • Jiaping Shao
  • Kuan Xu

Abstract

How did rapid growth in per capita income and rising income inequality during 1991–2000 in China affect the health status of Chinese children, given that the disappearance in the 1990s of subsidized food coupons simultaneously increased the importance of money income in enabling consumption of basic foods by poor families? Using the China Health and Nutrition Survey data for 1991, 1993, 1997, and 2000 on 4400 households in nine provinces, we examine the height-for‐age of Chinese children aged 2–13, with particular emphasis on the growth of children living in poor households. We use mean regression and quantile regression models to isolate the dynamic impact of poverty status and food coupon use on child height‐for‐age. Our principal findings are: (i) controlling for standard variables (e.g. parents' weight, height, and education) poverty is correlated with slower growth in height‐for‐age between 1997 and 2000 but not earlier; (ii) in 2000, poverty is negatively correlated with strong growth in height‐for‐age; and (iii) food coupon use in earlier periods correlates positively with growth in height‐for‐age. The general moral is the crucial social protection role that subsidized food programmes can potentially play in maintaining the health of poor children. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Osberg & Jiaping Shao & Kuan Xu, 2009. "The growth of poor children in China 1991–2000: why food subsidies may matter," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S1), pages 89-108, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:18:y:2009:i:s1:p:s89-s108
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1463
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    Cited by:

    1. Ranjan Ray & Kompal Sinha, 2015. "Multidimensional Deprivation in China, India and Vietnam: A Comparative Study on Micro Data," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 69-93, February.
    2. Maitra, Pushkar & Rammohan, Anu & Ray, Ranjan & Robitaille, Marie-Claire, 2013. "Food consumption patterns and malnourished Indian children: Is there a link?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 70-81.
    3. Ren Mu & Alan Brauw, 2015. "Migration and young child nutrition: evidence from rural China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 631-657, July.
    4. Maren M. Michaelsen & Songül Tolan, 2012. "Children at Risk: The Effect of Crop Loss on Child Health in Rural Mexico," Ruhr Economic Papers 0376, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Lars Osberg, 2015. "The Hunger of Old Women in Rural Tanzania: Can Subjective Data Improve Poverty Measurement?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(4), pages 723-738, December.
    6. de Brauw, Alan & Mu, Ren, 2012. "Unattended but not undernourished: young children left behind in rural China:," IFPRI discussion papers 1191, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Shimokawa, Satoru, 2013. "When does dietary knowledge matter to obesity and overweight prevention?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 35-46.
    8. Ren, Weiwei & Rammohan, Anu & Wu, Yanrui, 2014. "Is there a gender gap in child nutritional outcomes in rural China?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 145-155.
    9. Ray, Ranjan & Mishra, Ankita, 2012. "Multi-dimensional deprivation in the awakening giants: A comparison of China and India on micro data," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 454-465.
    10. Sudhanshu Handa & Amber Peterman, 2016. "Is There Catch-Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(4), pages 470-500, August.
    11. Michaelsen, Maren M. & Tolan, Songül, 2012. "Children at Risk: The Effect of Crop Loss on Child Health in Rural Mexico," Ruhr Economic Papers 376, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. repec:zbw:rwirep:0376 is not listed on IDEAS

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