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Nutrition-Productivity Link and the Persistence of Poverty

  • Ayalew, Tekabe
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    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.

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    Paper provided by Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) in its series IOB Discussion Papers with number 2003.02.

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    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iob:dpaper:2003002
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    1. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 1997. "In sickness and in health... risk-sharing within households in rural Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1997-12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 1998. "Changes in poverty in rural Ethiopia 1989-1995: measurement, robustness tests and decomposition," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1998-07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997. "Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil," Papers 97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
    6. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Bhargava, Alok, 1997. "Nutritional status and the allocation of time in Rwandese households," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 277-295, March.
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