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The impact of improved nutrition on labor productivity and GDP growth rate in low- and middle-income countries


  • Abdulla, Majd


This study examined the effects of nutrition on the growth rate of country economies over time. Previous studies on this topic have resulted in debates among researchers over how significant nutritional effects are on individual country economies. For this study, data were collected for four decades (1960s, 1970, 1980s, and 1990s) for 43 low- and middle-income countries. The data were analyzed to determine the effect of nutrition, represented by dietary energy supply (DES), on the growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) per worker and on labor productivity. The research utilized ordinary least squares, instrumental variables, and random effects regressions in the context of the Solow growth rate model. The research revealed that nutrition did, indeed, have an effect on the economies, but the impact was not very significant for GDP growth rate per worker and labor productivity. The t statistic for the nutrition variable did not support the contribution of DES to growth rate GDP per worker. On the contrary, other variables such as capital per worker and literacy rate showed stronger impacts that did the DES variable.

Suggested Citation

  • Abdulla, Majd, 2004. "The impact of improved nutrition on labor productivity and GDP growth rate in low- and middle-income countries," ISU General Staff Papers 2004010108000017649, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genstf:2004010108000017649

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    5. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
    6. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
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    8. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931, June.
    9. 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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    11. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-251, April.
    12. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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