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Stunting and selection effects of famine: A case study of the Great Chinese Famine

Date

2012

Authors

Gorgens, Jakob (Tue)
Meng, Xin
Vaithianathan, Rhema

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Elsevier

Abstract

Many developing countries experience famine. If survival is related to height, the increasingly common practice of using height as a measure of well-being may be misleading. We devise a novel method for disentangling the stunting from the selection effects of famine. Using data from the 1959-1961 Great Chinese Famine, we find that taller children were more likely to survive the famine. Controlling for selection, we estimate that children under the age of five who survived the famine grew up to be 1 to 2. cm shorter. Our results suggest that if a country experiences a shock such as famine, average height is potentially a biased measure of economic conditions during childhood.

Description

Keywords

Keywords: child health; developing world; famine; height determination; panel data; socioeconomic conditions; socioeconomic indicator; survival; China China; Famine; Height; Panel data

Citation

Source

Journal of Development Economics

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1016/j.jdeveco.2010.12.005

Restricted until

2037-12-31