Economic Shocks and Early Childhood Nutritional Achievements: A Case in 20 Villages of Rural and Urban Ethiopia

Course ID
Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA)
Tassew Woldehanna

While the Ethiopian national emergency and food security programs support farmers hit by area-wide shocks such crop failure brought by drought, insects and pests, the idiosyncratic shocks such as illness and death of household member, lose of assets and separation of family or divorce are not covered by any of the social assistance programs. The absence of assistance program to support vulnerable households may lead to serious problem of malnutrition among poor children. Using longitudinal data of children collected at the age of one and five years (younger cohort data of Young Lives Study), we have examined the effect of area-wide and idiosyncratic economic shocks on nutritional achievement of five-year old children measured by height for age, change in height for age and stunting. The economic shocks considered are those occurred before and after the birth of the child. We have controlled for initial nutritional achievements (at the age of one year), household wealth and household compositions when we regress nutritional achievements on shocks. The serious shocks reported by the respondents that occurred before the birth of the child are (1) decrease in food availability; (2) crops failure; (3) death of livestock death, (4) severe illness or injury; (5) job loss/source of income/family enterprise; (6) birth of new household member, (7) death of household members. The shocks that occurred after the child was borne are (1) illness and death of household members, (2) drought, (3) crop failure, (4) pests and diseases, (5) place employment shutdown or job loss, (6) natural disaster such as drought and flooding (7) divorce or separation of family, (8) death of livestock, (9) increased input prices, (10) decreased output prices, (11) theft and robbery, (12) having to pay for education, and (13) birth or new household member. we found significant effect of shocks not only shock that occurred after the child was born, but also shocks that occurred five years before the child was born implying the long-term consequence of shocks on children growth performance. In addition to the area-wide shocks such as crop failure brought by drought, insects and pests, idiosyncratic shocks such as separation of family, death of breadwinners are important determinants of malnutrition. Although the area-wide economic shocks are very important on which government need to focus more, the idiosyncratic shocks have also considerable contribution to the improvement of children’s height for age and consequently to the reduction of stunting and sever stunting in Ethiopia. Therefore, it is still worth if government assistance programs are inclusive of idiosyncratic shocks such as death and illness of household members and separation of family or divorce

Corporate Author: Getnet Alemun & Ethiopian Economic Association/Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute
Publisher: Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
ISBN/ISSN: 978-99944-54-14-7
Primary Descriptors: Nutrition, Childhood

Secondary Descriptor: Economic Shock

Geographic Descriptors: Ethiopia, Rurla and Urban
Cataloge Date: 02/27/2013
Broad Subject heading: Growth and Development
Call Number: 330.963 PRO 2010
Serial Key Title: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: International Conference
Content type: EEA Publication
Volume: I
Publication date: 2013-05-27 23:10:00
Forum or Discussion date: 2013-02-27 15:02:21
Place of publication: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: Book
Current frequency: Annualy
Author: Tassew Woldehanna