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Economic Growth and Child Undernutrition in Africa

Author

Listed:
  • 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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Harttgen & Stephan Klasen & Sebastian Vollmer, 2012. "Economic Growth and Child Undernutrition in Africa," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2012-013, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rac:wpaper:2012-013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kimenju, Simon & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "The Nutrition Transition and Indicators of Child Malnutrition," Discussion Papers 195709, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    2. Viridiana Garcia, 2012. "Children Malnutrition and Horizontal Inequalities in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Focus on Contrasting Domestic Trajectories," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2012-019, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.
    3. Joseph Cummins & Anaka Aiyar, 2017. "Age-Profile Estimates of the Relationship Between Economic Growth and Child Health," Working Papers 201710, University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics.
    4. María Caridad Araujo & Martín Ardanaz & Edna Armendáriz & Jere R. Behrman & Samuel Berlinski & Julian P. Cristia & Yyannu Cruz-Aguayo & Luca Flabbi & Diana Hincapie & Analía Jalmovich & Sharon Lynn Ka, 2015. "The Early Years: Child Well-being and the Role of Public Policy," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 91496 edited by Samuel Berlinski & Norbert Schady, February.
    5. El-Kogali,Safaa El Tayeb & Krafft,Caroline Gould & Abdelkhalek,Touhami & Benkassmi,Mohamed & Chavez,Monica I. & Bassett,Lucy Katherine & Ejjanoui,Fouzia, 2016. "Inequality of opportunity in early childhood development in Morocco over time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7670, The World Bank.
    6. El-Kogali,Safaa El Tayeb & Krafft,Caroline Gould & Abdelkhalek,Touhami & Benkassmi,Mohamed & Chavez,Monica I. & Bassett,Lucy Katherine & Ejjanoui,Fouzia, 2016. "The impact of a community development and poverty reduction program on early childhood development in Morocco," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7671, The World Bank.
    7. Buehler, Dorothee C. & Hartje, Rebecca C. & Grote, Ulrike, 2016. "Don’t Forget about the Children – Latent Food Insecurity in Rural Cambodia," 90th Annual Conference, April 4-6, 2016, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 236333, Agricultural Economics Society.
    8. repec:idb:idbbks:7259 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Maria Carmela Lo Bue, 2014. "What drives child health improvements in Indonesian households? A micro-level perspective on complementarities in MDG achievements," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 155, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    10. Rashad, Ahmed & Sharaf, Mesbah, 2015. "Does Economic Growth Reduce Child Malnutrition in Egypt? New Evidence from National Demographic and Health Survey," Working Papers 2015-16, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    11. Kenneth Harttgen & Stefan Lang & Judith Santer, 2015. "Multilevel Modelling of Child Mortality in Africa," Working Papers 2015-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Undernutrition; child care; economic growth; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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