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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

How Much Does Economic Growth Contribute to Child Stunting Reductions?

Department of Economics, DePaul University, Chicago, IL 60604, USA
Economies 2018, 6(4), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/economies6040055
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 28 September 2018 / Accepted: 1 October 2018 / Published: 9 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Education and Health in Economic Development)
The role of economic growth in reducing child undernutrition remains an open and highly debated question that holds important implications for food security strategies. The empirical evidence has been quite contrasted, primarily in regard to the magnitude of the impacts. Yet, most studies have not (appropriately) accounted for the reverse causality between economic growth and child stunting. Using a dataset of 74 developing countries observed between 1984 and 2014, this paper develops a novel approach accounting for the reverse causal effect of stunting on GDP per capita and finds that the impacts of economic growth are much lower than estimated in most previous studies. A 10% increase in GDP per capita reduces child stunting prevalence by 2.7%. In other words, economic growth is modestly pro-poor. We also estimate that a percentage point increase in child stunting prevalence results in a 0.4% decrease in GDP per capita. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that stunting costs on average about 13.5% of GDP per capita in developing countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic growth; child stunting; nutrition; reverse causality economic growth; child stunting; nutrition; reverse causality
MDPI and ACS Style

Mary, S. How Much Does Economic Growth Contribute to Child Stunting Reductions? Economies 2018, 6, 55.

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