Sweet Child of Mine: Income, Health and Inequality

74 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2020

See all articles by Nicolas Berman

Nicolas Berman

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)

Lorenzo Rotunno

Aix-Marseille University - Aix-Marseille School of Economics

Roberta Ziparo

Aix-Marseille University

Date Written: February 2020

Abstract

How to allocate limited resources among children is a crucial household decision, especially in developing countries where it might have strong implications for children and family survival. We study how variations in parental income in the early life of their children affect subsequent child health and parental investments across siblings, using micro data from multiple waves of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) spanning 54 developing countries. Variations in the world prices of locally produced crops are used as measures of local income. We find that children born in periods of higher income durably enjoy better health and receive better human capital (health and education) investments than their siblings. Children whose older siblings were born during favourable income periods receive less investment and exhibit worse health in absolute terms. We interpret these within-household reallocations in light of economic and evolutionary theories that highlight the importance of efficiency considerations in competitive environments. Finally, we study the implications of these for aggregate child health inequality, which is found to be higher in regions exposed to more volatile crop prices.

Keywords: health, Income, intra-household allocations, Parental investments

JEL Classification: D13, I14, I15, J13, O12

Suggested Citation

Berman, Nicolas and Rotunno, Lorenzo and Ziparo, Roberta, Sweet Child of Mine: Income, Health and Inequality (February 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3547377

Nicolas Berman (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, CH-1211
Switzerland

Lorenzo Rotunno

Aix-Marseille University - Aix-Marseille School of Economics ( email )

2 rue de la Charité
Marseille, 13236
France

Roberta Ziparo

Aix-Marseille University ( email )

3 Avenue Robert Schuman
3 Avenue Robert Schuman,
Aix-en-Provence, 13628
France

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
194
PlumX Metrics