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Agricultural trade policies and child nutrition in low- and middle-income countries: a cross-national analysis

Agricultural trade policies and child nutrition in low- and middle-income countries: a cross-national analysis

Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Kafui ORCID: 0000-0002-8919-6518, Vollmer, Sebastian, Avendano, Mauricio and Harttgen, Kenneth (2019) Agricultural trade policies and child nutrition in low- and middle-income countries: a cross-national analysis. Globalization and Health, 15:21. ISSN 1744-8603 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-019-0463-0)

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Abstract

Background:
There has been growing interest in understanding the role of agricultural trade policies in diet and nutrition. This cross-country study examines associations between government policies on agricultural trade prices and child nutrition outcomes, particularly undernutrition.

Methods:
This study links panel data on government distortions to agricultural incentives to data from 212,258 children aged 6 to 35 months participating in Demographic and Health Surveys from 22 countries between 1991 and 2010. Country fixed-effects regression models were used to examine the association between within-country changes in nominal rates of assistance to tradable agriculture (government price distortions as a percentage of original prices) and child nutritional outcomes (height-for-age, weight-for-age, and weight-for-height Z-scores) while controlling for a range of time-varying country covariates.

Results:
Five-year average nominal rates of assistance to tradable agriculture ranged from − 72.0 to 45.5% with a mean of − 5.0% and standard deviation of 18.9 percentage points. A 10-percentage point increase in five-year average rates of assistance to tradable agriculture was associated with improved height-for-age (0.02, 95% CI: 0.00–0.05) and weight-for-age (0.05, 95% CI: 0.02–0.09) Z-scores. Improvements in nutritional status were greatest among children who had at least one parent earning wages in agriculture, and effects decreased as a country’s proportion of tradable agriculture increased, particularly for weight-for-age Z-scores.

Conclusions:
Government assistance to tradable agriculture, such as through reduced taxation, was associated with small but significant improvements in child nutritional status, especially for children with a parent earning wages in agriculture when the share of tradable agriculture was not high.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019. The Author(s). Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Uncontrolled Keywords: nutrition status, trade, agriculture, policy, food prices, nominal rate of assistance, liberalization
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2021 08:58
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/29474

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