IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Genetic Endowments, Parental and Child Health in Rural Ethiopia


  • Bereket Kebede

    (Centre for the Study of African Economies & University of Bath)


This paper examines the determinants of child health in rural Ethiopia for the period 1994-97 using height-for-age z-scores as measures of long-term health. The panel nature of the data helps to control for community, household and individual level heterogeneity. Unlike most previous studies, the influence of parental health on children is examined. In addition, the role of genetic endowments in the relationship between child and parental health is analysed. Unlike most studies in the health literature, no significant correlation between children’s health and per capita expenditures is found. This reinforces the widespread suspicion that most income coefficients in the literature are biased upwards due to correlation between unobservable heterogeneity and income levels. But the height of parents is highly significant in all specifications. Even though most prices are not significant, the prices of food items that are mostly consumed by children are significantly and negatively related to child health. Birth order has a significant impact on the health of children; older children are taller than their younger siblings. Female children have better height-for-age z-scores than males. Since the health of children deteriorates with their age, deprivations in later years are probably more important than during pre- or neo-natal periods. This seems to be confirmed by the statistical insignificance of a dummy variable that identifies children born in a year when the household lost substantial harvest due to drought. The number of siblings of the wife significantly and negatively affects the health of children; but that of the head is not significant. As females control the management of housework and food preparation, their siblings probably compete with their children more than that of the husband’s. Years of marriage, probably reflecting stability in marriage, have a beneficial impact on child health. Altitude has a significant negative impact on the health of children. Finally, correlations between child and parental health are mainly explained by genetic inheritance than by behaviour. In an environment where there are no radical differences in the nutritional and disease environments of parents and children, the importance of genetic endowments in determining child health should not be underestimated.

Suggested Citation

  • Bereket Kebede, 2004. "Genetic Endowments, Parental and Child Health in Rural Ethiopia," Development and Comp Systems 0409034, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0409034
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 34

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Bond & Anke Hoeffler & Jonathan Temple, 2001. "GMM Estimation of Empirical Growth Models," Economics Papers 2001-W21, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    2. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," NBER Working Papers 5067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1989. "The Revenues-Expenditures Nexus: Evidence from Local Government Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 415-429, May.
    4. Harrison, Ann, 1996. "Openness and growth: A time-series, cross-country analysis for developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 419-447, March.
    5. Richard Blundell & Stephen Bond, 2000. "GMM Estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 321-340.
    6. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    7. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
    8. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    9. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    10. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    11. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
    12. Irwin, Douglas A. & Tervio, Marko, 2002. "Does trade raise income?: Evidence from the twentieth century," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-18, October.
    13. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    14. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    15. Rodrik, Rani, 1995. "Trade and industrial policy reform," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 45, pages 2925-2982 Elsevier.
    16. Temple, Jonathan, 1999. "A positive effect of human capital on growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 131-134, October.
    17. Beck, Thorsten, 2002. "Financial development and international trade: Is there a link?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 107-131, June.
    18. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
    19. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
    20. Miller, Stephen M. & Upadhyay, Mukti P., 2000. "The effects of openness, trade orientation, and human capital on total factor productivity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 399-423, December.
    21. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Where has all the education gone?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1581, The World Bank.
    22. Gemmell, Norman, 1996. "Evaluating the Impacts of Human Capital Stocks and Accumulation on Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 9-28, February.
    23. Caselli, Francesco & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lefort, Fernando, 1996. "Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 363-389, September.
    24. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
    25. repec:crs:wpaper:9730 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Alwyn Young, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-680.
    27. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    28. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    29. Greenaway, David & Morgan, Wyn & Wright, Peter, 2002. "Trade liberalisation and growth in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 229-244, February.
    30. Hoeffler, Anke E, 2002. " The Augmented Solow Model and the African Growth Debate," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(2), pages 135-158, May.
    31. Temple, Jonathan R. W., 2001. "Generalizations that aren't? Evidence on education and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 905-918, May.
    32. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    33. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to Cross-National Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    34. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Gregory Ponthiere, 2011. "Mortality, Family and Lifestyles," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 175-190, June.
    2. Sonia Bhalotra & Samantha Rawlings, 2013. "Gradients of the Intergenerational Transmission of Health in Developing Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 660-672, May.
    3. Katja Coneus & C. Katharina Spieß, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Health in Early Childhood," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 126, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Coneus, Katja & Spiess, C. Katharina, 2012. "The intergenerational transmission of health in early childhood—Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 89-97.

    More about this item


    Ethiopia; child health; intra-household allocation; genetic influences in health;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0409034. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.