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Economic Growth and Child Undernutrition in Africa

  • Kenneth Harttgen

    ()

    (ETH Zurich, Nadel)

  • Stephan Klasen

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Göttingen)

  • Sebastian Vollmer

    ()

    (Institute of Macroeconomics, University of Hannover and Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health)

Abstract: Despite recent improvements in economic performance, undernutrition rates in Africa appear to have improved much less and rather inconsistently across the continent. We examine to what extent there is an empirical linkage between income growth and reductions of child undernutrition in Africa. We do this by pooling all DHS surveys for African countries, control for other correlates of undernutrition, and add country-level GDP per capita. We find that increases in GDP per capita are associated with lower individual probabilities of being underweight of about 2.5 percent per one hundred dollars (4.1 percent for the probability of being stunted). This association is economically meaningful, but other explanatory variables such as mother’s education, socioeconomic status, and poor mother’s nutritional status are quantitatively more important than economic growth and appear to contribute to a slowing of progress in reducing undernutrition in Africa.

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File URL: http://web.undp.org/africa/knowledge/WP-2012-013-Harttgen-klassen-economic-growth-undernutrition.pdf
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Paper provided by United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP/RBA) in its series Working Papers with number 2012-013.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rac:wpaper:2012-013
Contact details of provider: Postal: One United Nations Plaza, New York, New York 10017
Web page: http://web.undp.org/africa/

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  1. Stephan Klasen, 2007. "Poverty, Undernutrition, and Child Mortality: Some Inter-Regional Puzzles and their Implications for Research and Policy," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 156, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Sonia Bhalotra & Samantha Rawlings, 2009. "Gradients of the Intergenerational Transmission of Health in Developing Countries," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/218, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Rawlings, Samantha, 2010. "Intergenerational Persistence in Health in Developing Countries: The Penalty of Gender Inequality?," IZA Discussion Papers 5371, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    • Haddad, Lawrence James & Alderman, Harold & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2002. "Reducing child undernutrition," FCND briefs 137, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Kenneth Harttgen & Sebastian Vollmer, 2011. "Inequality Decomposition without Income or Expenditure Data: Using an Asset Index to Simulate Household Income," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2011-13, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  9. Kenneth Harttgen & Mark Misselhorn, 2006. "A Multilevel Approach to Explain Child Mortality and Undernutrition in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 152, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  10. Friedman, Jed & Schady, Norbert, 2009. "How many more infants are likely to die in Africa as a result of the global financial crisis ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5023, The World Bank.
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  14. Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2001. " Child Growth in the Time of Drought," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(4), pages 409-36, September.
  15. Stifel, David & Christiaensen, Luc, 2006. "Tracking poverty over time in the absence of comparable consumption data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3810, The World Bank.
  16. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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