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Nutrition-productivity link and the persistence of poverty

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  • Ayalew, Tekabe

Abstract

In poor societies where nutrition and health status is very low, consumption of basic needs amounts to investment. It enhances labour productivity and reduces morbidity. In this paper it is shown that inequality can persist in rural Ethiopia due to the existence the low nutrition- low productivity trap. It is done mainly by establishing the link between nutrition and health on the one hand and labour productivity on the other. Using a panel data from rural Ethiopian households, farm production functions as well as earnings functions are estimated. In both cases, calorie intakes do affect the labour productivity of farm households. However, the effect of the stock of nutrition on productivity is observed only in the earnings function. For workers employed in social safety nets such as food for work programs, the productivity effect of nutrition is minimal. Moreover our estimates indicate that the returns to calorie intakes are much larger than that of chemical fertilizers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayalew, Tekabe, 2003. "Nutrition-productivity link and the persistence of poverty," IOB Discussion Papers 2003.02, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
  • Handle: RePEc:iob:dpaper:2003002
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    1. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "In Sickness and in Health: Risk Sharing within Households in Rural Ethiopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 688-727, August.
    2. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1997. "Health and wages: Evidence on men and women in urban Brazil," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 159-185, March.
    3. Bliss, Christopher & Stern, Nicholas, 1978. "Productivity, wages and nutrition : Part I: the theory," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 331-362, December.
    4. Bliss, Christopher & Stern, Nicholas, 1978. "Productivity, wages and nutrition : Part II: Some observations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 363-398, December.
    5. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 1998. "Changes in poverty in rural Ethiopia 1989-1995: measurement, robustness tests and decomposition," CSAE Working Paper Series 1998-07, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Bhargava, Alok, 1997. "Nutritional status and the allocation of time in Rwandese households," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 277-295, March.
    7. Croppenstedt, Andre & Muller, Christophe, 2000. "The Impact of Farmers' Health and Nutritional Status on Their Productivity and Efficiency: Evidence from Ethiopia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(3), pages 475-502, April.
    8. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
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