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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 in its series UNDP Africa Policy Notes 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://www.africa.undp.org/

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  16. 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).
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