Child Nutrition, Child Health, and School Enrollment: A Longitudinal Analysis

38 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Harold Alderman

Harold Alderman

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Rekha Menon

World Bank

Date Written: January 1997

Abstract

Private behavioral choices and policies that affect the health and nutrition of children have far greater effects on school enroolment and thus on eventual productivity than most literature suggests. Better health and nutrition are thought to improve children's performance in school, and therefore their productivity after school. Most literature ignores the fact that child health and schooling reflect behavioral choices, so the estimated impact of health and nutrition on a child`s schooling reflects biases in the studies.

Using an explicit dynamic model for preferred estimates, the authors use longitudinal data to investigate how children's health and nutrition affect school enrollment in rural Pakistan. They use price shocks when children were of preschool age to control for behavior determining the measure of children's health and nutrition stock.

The authors find that children's health and nutrition is three times more important for enrollment than is suggested by naive estimates that assume that children's health and nutrition is predetermined rather that determined by household choices. Not only does improved nutrition increase enrollments, it does so more for girls, thus closing a portion of the gender gap.

These results strongly reinforce the importance of using estimation methods that are consistent with the economic theory of households to explore the impact of some choice variables on others, using socioeconomic behavioral data. Private behaviors and public policies that affect the health and nutrition of children have much greater effect on school enrollment and on eventual productivity than suggested by early literature methods.

This paper - a product of the Poverty and Human Resources Division, Policy Research Department - is part of a larger effort in the department to evaluate the economic impact of human resource investments.

Suggested Citation

Alderman, Harold and Behrman, Jere R. and Lavy, Victor and Menon, Rekha, Child Nutrition, Child Health, and School Enrollment: A Longitudinal Analysis (January 1997). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 1700. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=636104

Harold Alderman (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

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

Jere R. Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3245 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Rekha Menon

World Bank

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

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
614
Abstract Views
5,154
rank
45,028
PlumX Metrics