The Costs of Consumption Smoothing: Less Schooling and Less Nutrition

27 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2016 Last revised: 22 May 2017

See all articles by Leandro de Magalhaes

Leandro de Magalhaes

Bristol University

Dongya Koh

University of Arkansas - Department of Economics

Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis

MOVE-UAB

Date Written: February 3, 2017

Abstract

Using novel micro data, we explore lifecycle consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We find that households' ability to smooth consumption over the lifecycle is large, particularly, in rural areas. Interestingly, consumption in old age is sustained by shifting to self-farmed staple food, as opposed to traditional savings mechanisms or food gifts. This smoothing strategy entails two important costs. First, there is a loss of human capital as children are diverted away from school and into producing self-farmed food. Second, a diet largely concentrated in staple food (e.g., maize in Malawi) in old age results in a loss of nutritional quality for households headed by the elderly.

Keywords: Consumption, Smoothing, Lifecycle, Self-Farming, Schooling, Nutrition, Sub- Saharan Africa

JEL Classification: E21, O11, R20

Suggested Citation

de Magalhaes, Leandro and Koh, Dongya and Santaeulalia-Llopis, Raul, The Costs of Consumption Smoothing: Less Schooling and Less Nutrition (February 3, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2837190 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2837190

Leandro De Magalhaes

Bristol University ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

Dongya Koh

University of Arkansas - Department of Economics ( email )

Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/dongyakoh/home

Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis (Contact Author)

MOVE-UAB ( email )

Plaza Cívica, s/n
Bellaterra, Barcelona 08193
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://r-santaeulalia.net

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