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Agriculture and Child Under-Nutrition in India: A State Level Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Swarna Sadasivam Vepa

    () (Economist (LANSA), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (Chennai) and Visiting faculty Madras School of Economics (Chennai))

  • Vinodhini Umashankar

    () (Research Associates (LANSA), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation,)

  • R.V. Bhavani

    () (Project Manager, (LANSA), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai,)

  • Rohit Parasar

    () (Research Associates (LANSA), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation,)

Abstract

The literature review on agriculture-child nutrition linkage indicates that the evidence base is weak and inconclusive (Kadiyala et al., 2013). This paper explores the possible linkages between agricultural prosperity with rural child nutrition at the macro level, controlling for sanitation and safe drinking water, using panel data fixed effects and random effects models. The four alternate indicators of agricultural prosperity viz., agricultural growth, worker productivity, land productivity and food grain production per capita used alternatively enable us to conclude that negative influence of agricultural prosperity on child undernutrition exists, though the influence of various aspects of prosperity on underweight and stunting differ. Other aspects of agriculture considered, such as female agricultural wages help to reinforce the negative influence of agricultural prosperity on underweight in children and the land operational inequality dampens the impact of agricultural prosperity as it increases the incidence of stunting. Water and sanitation help reduce child undernutrition albeit differently on stunting and underweight. The same set of variables seems to influence stunting and underweight differently. Their trajectories seem to differ. The present study enables us to conclude that Indian agricultural growth through higher food grain production and through higher land productivity, when percolates through, labour productivity and higher wages, can reduce child undernutrition in rural India. However, public policy has to promote social provisioning of sanitation and health and make sure that agricultural growth is consistent. Public policy should ensure that growth translates into higher labour productivity and higher wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Swarna Sadasivam Vepa & Vinodhini Umashankar & R.V. Bhavani & Rohit Parasar, 2014. "Agriculture and Child Under-Nutrition in India: A State Level Analysis," Working Papers 2014-086, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
  • Handle: RePEc:mad:wpaper:2014-086
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christiaensen, Luc & Demery, Lionel & Kuhl, Jesper, 2011. "The (evolving) role of agriculture in poverty reduction--An empirical perspective," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 239-254, November.
    2. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "Agricultural Productivity Differences across Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 165-170, May.
    3. Dietrich Vollrath, 2007. "Land Distribution and International Agricultural Productivity," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(1), pages 202-216.
    4. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Macroeconomic Crises and Poverty Monitoring: A Case Study for India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 135-152, June.
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    6. Malavika A Subramanyam & Ichiro Kawachi & Lisa F Berkman & S V Subramanian, 2011. "Is Economic Growth Associated with Reduction in Child Undernutrition in India?," Working Papers id:3926, eSocialSciences.
    7. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 2000. "Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries: a cross-country analysis," Research reports 111, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Katsushi S. Imai & Samuel Kobina Annim & Raghav Gaiha & Veena S. Kulkarni, 2012. "Does Women's Empowerment Reduce Prevalence of Stunted and Underweight Children in Rural India?," Discussion Paper Series DP2012-11, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised Dec 2012.
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    10. Elaina Rose, 1999. "Consumption Smoothing and Excess Female Mortality in Rural India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 41-49, February.
    11. Headey, Derek & Chiu, Alice & Kadiyala, Suneetha, 2011. "Agriculture's role in the Indian enigma: Help or hindrance to the undernutrition crisis?," IFPRI discussion papers 1085, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. G. Naline & Brinda Viswanathan, 2016. "Revisiting the Determinants of Child Anthropometric Indicators in India Using Seemingly Unrelated Regressions Model," Working Papers 2016-143, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    India; Agriculture; productivity; female wages child undernutrition;

    JEL classification:

    • Q19 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Other
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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