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Iron Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Peru

Author

Listed:
  • Chong, Alberto
  • Cohen, Isabelle
  • Field, Erica
  • Nakasone, Eduardo
  • Torero, Maximo

Abstract

A key question in development economics is whether nutritional deficiencies generate intergenerational poverty traps by reducing the earnings potential of children born into poverty. To assess the causal influence on human capital of one of the most widespread micronutrient deficiencies, supplemental iron pills were made available at a local health center in rural Peru and adolescents were encouraged to take them up via classroom media messages. Results from school administrative records provide novel evidence that reducing iron deficiency results almost immediately in a large and significant improvement in school performance. For anemic students, an average of 10 100mg iron pills over three months improves average test scores by 0.4 standard deviations and increases the likelihood of grade progression by 11%. Supplementation also raises anemic students’ aspirations for the future. Both results indicate that cognitive deficits from iron-deficiency anemia contribute to a nutrition-based poverty trap. Our findings also demonstrate that, with low-cost outreach efforts in schools, supplementation programs offered through a public clinic can be both affordable and effective in reducing rates of adolescent IDA.

Suggested Citation

  • Chong, Alberto & Cohen, Isabelle & Field, Erica & Nakasone, Eduardo & Torero, Maximo, 2015. "Iron Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Peru," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212629, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae15:212629
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/212629
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey B. Liebman & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2015. "Would People Behave Differently If They Better Understood Social Security? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 275-299, February.
    2. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Federico A. Bugni & Ivan A. Canay & Azeem M. Shaikh, 2015. "Inference under covariate-adaptive randomization," CeMMAP working papers CWP45/15, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Abhijit Banerjee & Sharon Barnhardt & Esther Duflo, 2016. "Can Iron-Fortified Salt Control Anemia? Evidence from Two Experiments in Rural Bihar," NBER Working Papers 22121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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