Up in Smoke? Agricultural Commercialization, Rising Food prices and Stunting in Malawi

Reports
Sectors:
Child Development, Nutrition
Organization:
World Bank Group (WBG)
Author:
Benjamin Wood, Carl Nelson, Talip Kilic, Siobhan Murray
Regions:
Africa
Publication Dates:
October, 2013
Content Formats:
Text

The study uses nationally representative household survey data from Malawi to estimate the effect of household adoption of an export crop, namely tobacco, on child height-for-age z-scores. Given the endogenous nature of household tobacco adoption, the analysis relies on instrumental variable regressions, and isolates the causal effect by comparing impact estimates informed by two unique samples of children that differ in their exposure to an exogenous domestic staple food price shock during the early child development window (from conception through two years of age). The analysis finds that household tobacco production in the year of or the year after child birth, combined with exposure to an exogenous domestic staple food price shock, lowers the child height-for-age z-score by 1.27, implying a 70-percent drop in z-score. The negative effect is, however, not statistically significant among children who were not exposed to the same shock. ​​Up in Smoke? Agricultural Commercialization, Rising Food Prices and Stunting in Malawi​