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The Effect of Economic Crises on Nutritional Status: Evidence from Russia

Author

Listed:
  • Stillman, Steven

    () (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)

  • Thomas, Duncan

    () (Duke University)

Abstract

This paper uses data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) to examine the relationship between nutritional status and both longer-run household resources and short-run fluctuations in household resources. We evaluate six measures of nutrition – gross energy intake, two dimensions of diet quality, body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of net energy intake for adults, and for children, weight for height and stature. Our finding indicate a clear positive effect of longer-run resources on energy intake, diet composition, adult BMI, and child stature. Between 1996 and 2000, Russian households experienced a dramatic decline in income and expenditure and then an equally dramatic rise. We exploit the panel nature of RLMS to identify the causal effect of changes in household resources on nutritional status. In contrast to the large decline in expenditure in 1998, nutritional status appears to be very resilient to variation in household resources and this is reflected in gross energy intake, adult BMI, and child stature, which all change very little as expenditure deviates from its long-run average. Diet composition, however, does change in response to transitory variation in household resources. It appears that individuals and households are able to weather large economic crises at least in terms of maintaining body mass and energy intake.

Suggested Citation

  • Stillman, Steven & Thomas, Duncan, 2004. "The Effect of Economic Crises on Nutritional Status: Evidence from Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 1092, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1092
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Brainerd & David M. Cutler, 2005. "Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 107-130, Winter.
    2. Guy Lacroix & Natalia Radtchenko, 2011. "The changing intra-household resource allocation in Russia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 85-106, January.
    3. Cameron, Michael P. & Lim, Steven, 2005. "Migration, Household Composition, and Child Welfare in Rural Northeast Thailand," 2005 Conference, August 26-27, 2005, Nelson, New Zealand 98508, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    4. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Schady, Norbert, 2008. "Aggregate economic shocks, child schooling and child health," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4701, The World Bank.
    5. Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven & Le, Trinh, 2008. "CPI bias and real living standards in Russia during the transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 140-160, August.
    6. Stillman, Steven, 2006. "Health and nutrition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the decade of transition: A review of the literature," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 104-146, January.
    7. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Sinha, Nistha & Buvinic, Mayra, 2010. "How do women weather economic shocks ? a review of the evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5496, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic crises; nutrition; consumption smoothing; economic shocks; caloric intake; BMI; Russia;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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