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Economic Growth and Child Undernutrition in Africa

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  • Harttgen, Kenneth
  • Klasen, Stephan
  • Vollmer, Sebastian

Abstract

Despite recent improvements in economic performance, undernutrition rates in Africa appear to have improved much less and rather inconsistently across the continent. We examine to what extent there is an empirical linkage between income growth and reductions of child undernutrition in Africa. We do this by pooling all DHS surveys for African countries, control for other correlates of undernutrition, and add country-level GDP per capita. We find that increases in GDP per capita are associated with lower individual probabilities of being underweight of about 2.5 percent per one hundred dollars. This association becomes insignificant when time fixed effects are added to the regression. Other explanatory variables such as mother’s education, socioeconomic status, and poor mother’s nutritional status are quantitatively more important than economic growth suggesting that other intervention to affect these correlates of undernutrition are likely to be more promising than relying on improved economic conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Harttgen, Kenneth & Klasen, Stephan & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2012. "Economic Growth and Child Undernutrition in Africa," Discussion Papers 130164, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:gagfdp:130164
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Kimenju, Simon & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "The Nutrition Transition and Indicators of Child Malnutrition," Discussion Papers 195709, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    3. Rashad, Ahmed & Sharaf, Mesbah, 2015. "Does Economic Growth Reduce Child Malnutrition in Egypt? New Evidence from National Demographic and Health Survey," Working Papers 2015-16, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    4. Kenneth Harttgen & Stefan Lang & Judith Santer, 2015. "Multilevel Modelling of Child Mortality in Africa," Working Papers 2015-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    5. Viridiana Garcia, 2012. "Children Malnutrition and Horizontal Inequalities in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Focus on Contrasting Domestic Trajectories," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2012-019, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.
    6. Joseph Cummins & Anaka Aiyar, 2017. "Age-Profile Estimates of the Relationship Between Economic Growth and Child Health," Working Papers 201710, University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics.
    7. María Caridad Araujo & Martín Ardanaz & Edna Armendáriz & Jere R. Behrman & Samuel Berlinski & Julian P. Cristia & Yyannu Cruz-Aguayo & Luca Flabbi & Diana Hincapie & Analía Jalmovich & Sharon Lynn Ka, 2015. "The Early Years: Child Well-being and the Role of Public Policy," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 91496 edited by Samuel Berlinski & Norbert Schady, February.
    8. El-Kogali,Safaa El Tayeb & Krafft,Caroline Gould & Abdelkhalek,Touhami & Benkassmi,Mohamed & Chavez,Monica I. & Bassett,Lucy Katherine & Ejjanoui,Fouzia & El-Kogali,Safaa El Tayeb & Krafft,Caroline Go, 2016. "Inequality of opportunity in early childhood development in Morocco over time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7670, The World Bank.
    9. El-Kogali,Safaa El Tayeb & Krafft,Caroline Gould & Abdelkhalek,Touhami & Benkassmi,Mohamed & Chavez,Monica I. & Bassett,Lucy Katherine & Ejjanoui,Fouzia & El-Kogali,Safaa El Tayeb & Krafft,Caroline Go, 2016. "The impact of a community development and poverty reduction program on early childhood development in Morocco," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7671, The World Bank.
    10. Buehler, Dorothee C. & Hartje, Rebecca C. & Grote, Ulrike, 2016. "Don’t Forget about the Children – Latent Food Insecurity in Rural Cambodia," 90th Annual Conference, April 4-6, 2016, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 236333, Agricultural Economics Society.
    11. repec:idb:idbbks:7259 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic growth; child undernutrition; Africa; economic development; wasting; stunting; underweight; Food Security and Poverty; International Development; I15; O10;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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