The Aggregate Income Losses from Childhood Stunting and the Returns to a Nutrition Intervention Aimed at Reducing Stunting

38 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2018 Last revised: 21 Sep 2018

See all articles by Emanuela Galasso

Emanuela Galasso

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Adam Wagstaff

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: August 1, 2018

Abstract

This paper undertakes two calculations, one for all developing countries, the other for 34 developing countries that together account for 90 percent of the world's stunted children. The first calculation asks how much lower a country's per capita income is today as a result of some of its workers having been stunted in childhood. The analysis uses a development accounting framework, relying on micro-econometric estimates of the effects of childhood stunting on adult wages, through the effects on years of schooling, cognitive skills, and height, parsing out the relative contribution of each set of returns to avoid double counting. The estimates show that, on average, the per capita income penalty from stunting is around 7 percent. The second calculation estimates the economic value and the costs associated with scaling up a package of nutrition interventions using the same methodology and set of assumptions used in the first calculation. The analysis considers a package of 10 nutrition interventions for which data are available on the effects and costs. The estimated rate-of-return from gradually introducing this program over a period of 10 years in the 34 countries is17 percent, and the corresponding benefit-cost ratio is 15:1.

Keywords: Early Child and Children's Health, Reproductive Health, Educational Sciences, Nutrition

Suggested Citation

Galasso, Emanuela and Wagstaff, Adam, The Aggregate Income Losses from Childhood Stunting and the Returns to a Nutrition Intervention Aimed at Reducing Stunting (August 1, 2018). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8536. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3238379

Emanuela Galasso (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-3902 (Phone)
202-522-1153 (Fax)

Adam Wagstaff

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/awagstaff

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