Is There Catch‐Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents

31 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2016

See all articles by Sudhanshu Handa

Sudhanshu Handa

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Public Policy; Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

Amber Peterman

UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

The ability to correct deficiencies in early childhood malnutrition, what is known as catch‐up growth, has widespread consequences for economic and social development. While clinical evidence of catch‐up has been observed, less clear is the ability to correct for chronic malnutrition found in impoverished environments in the absence of extensive and focused interventions. This paper investigates whether nutritional status at early age affects nutritional status a few years later among children, using panel data from China, South Africa and Nicaragua. The key research question is the extent to which state dependence in linear growth exists among young children, and what family and community level factors mediate state dependency. The answer to this question is crucial for public policy due to the long‐term economic consequences of poor childhood nutrition. Results show strong but not perfect persistence in nutritional status across all countries, indicating that catch‐up growth is possible though unobserved household behaviours tend to worsen the possibility of catch‐up growth. Public policy that can influence these behaviours, especially when children are under 24 months old, can significantly alter nutrition outcomes in South Africa and Nicaragua.

Suggested Citation

Handa, Sudhanshu and Peterman, Amber, Is There Catch‐Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents (August 2016). Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 78, Issue 4, pp. 470-500, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2803658 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obes.12117

Sudhanshu Handa (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Public Policy ( email )

Abernathy Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3435
United States
(919) 843-0350 (Phone)
(919) 962-5824 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.unc.edu/depts/pubpol/handa.html

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Amber Peterman

UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre ( email )

Piazza SS.Annuziata, 12
Florence, I-50122
Italy

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