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Does Famine Matter For Aggregate Adolescent Human Capital Acquisition In Sub-Saharan Africa?

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  • Julius A. Agbor and Gregory N. Price

Abstract

To the extent that in utero and childhood malnutrition negatively affects later stage mental and physical health, it can possibly constrain later stage human capital acquisition, which is an important driver of economic growth. This paper considers the impact of famine on aggregate adolescent human capital formation in Sub-Saharan Africa. We parameterize a joint adolescent human capital and food nutrition production function to estimate the effects of famine on primary school completion rates of individuals age 15 - 19. Mixed fixed and random coefficient parameter estimates for 32 Sub-Saharan African countries between 1980 - 2010 reveal that primary school completion rates of adolescents are proportional to the quantity of food and nutrition produced during childhood and in utero. This suggests that declines in food production and nutrition associated with famine in Sub-Saharan Africa have large negative effects on the acquisition of human capital by adolescents and on long-run material living standards. Our findings also suggest that policy makers in Sub-Saharan Africa should prioritize food security policies that prevent food shortages and famines, which would increase long-run economic growth and material living standards.

Suggested Citation

  • Julius A. Agbor and Gregory N. Price, 2012. "Does Famine Matter For Aggregate Adolescent Human Capital Acquisition In Sub-Saharan Africa?," Working Papers 320, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:320
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    1. repec:oup:jafrec:v:27:y:2018:i:1:p:127-148. is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Human Capital; Famine; Nutrition; Sub-Saharan Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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