The Impact Of Micronutrients On Labor Productivity: Evidence From Rural India
Micronutrient malnutrition, particularly of iron, is widespread on the South Asian subcontinent and economic losses due to reduced productivity of afflicted population groups are believed to be substantial. This paper examines the impact of micronutrient intake on productivity of house-hold engaged in agricultural labor in India by applying a two-stage least squares (2SLS) estimation technique. The micronutrient under investigation is iron. The results indicate that productivity, measured in wages is indeed affected through insufficient intake, and that wages would on average be 5 to 17.3 percent higher, if households would achieve recommended intake levels of the micronutrient discussed here. The results demonstrate that policy interventions that aim at enhancing micronutrient intake can be regarded as investments in improved productivity and higher household incomes. Enhancing micronutrient intake will contribute significantly to overall economic growth and development.
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