Health reform, population policy and child nutritional status in China
This paper examines the determinants of child nutritional status in seven provinces of China during the 1990s, focusing specifically on the role of two areas of public policy, namely health system reforms and the one child policy. The empirical relationship between income and nutritional status, and the extent to which that relationship is mediated by access to quality healthcare and being an only-child, is investigated using ordinary least squares, random effects, fixed effects, and instrumental variables models. In the preferred model - a fixed effects model where income is instrumented - the author find that being an only-child increases height-for-age z-scores by 0.119 of a standard deviation. The magnitude of this effect is found to be largely gender and income neutral. By contrast, access to quality healthcare and income is not found to be significantly associated with improved nutritional status in the preferred model. Data are drawn from four waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey.
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