Early Childhood Nutrition, Schooling and Within-Sibling Inequality in a Dynamic Context: Evidence from South Africa

Futoshi Yamauchi, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

This paper examines the effect of early childhood nutrition on schooling inputs and outcomes, using panel data from South Africa. Height-for-age z score is used as a measure of health capital and nutritional status at early childhood. Within-sibling estimates show that i) an improvement in height-for-age z score significantly lowers age starting school and increases grade attainment (conditional on age) among relatively less endowed children, ii) this effect is not clear with well endowed children and iii) parents are averse to within-sibling inequality in human capital and attempt to equalize future incomes among their children, increasing schooling investments to less endowed children. Non-monotonicity in the height effect on schooling outcomes is consistent with a possibility that child heath capital also increases opportunity costs for schooling, with positive economic returns in non-school activities.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Health, Mortality, Aging, Biology