Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition

Harold Alderman, John Hoddinott, Bill Kinsey
fcnd discussion paper

This paper examines the impact of preschool malnutrition on subsequent human capital formation in rural Zimbabwe using a maternal fixed effects-instrumental variables (MFE-IV) estimator with a long-term panel data set. Representations of civil war and drought 'shocks' are used to identify differences in preschool nutritional status across siblings. Improvements in height-for-age in preschoolers are associated with increased height as a young adult and number of grades of schooling completed. Had the median preschool child in this sample had the stature of a median child in a developed country, by adolescence, she would be 4.6 centimeters taller and would have completed an additional 0.7 grades of schooling