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Health shocks, household consumption, and child nutrition

Galiano, A.; Vera-Hernandez, M.; (2008) Health shocks, household consumption, and child nutrition. (IVIE Working Papers, EC Series WP-EC 2008-14). Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Economicas: Valencia, Spain.

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This paper investigates the effect of health shocks on household consumption and child nutrition. Using longitudinal data from rural Colombia we find that several items of household consumption, including medical expenditure, food consumption, and total consumption, increase following a recent illness event of an adult usually active in the labour market. In contrast to this, we find that girls' weight is negatively affected, as a consequence of the same illness event. The results on nutrition present an interesting gender bias, since we do not find any evidence that boys' nutritional status deteriorates. Our conclusion is that households make difficult intrahousehold choices when an illness shock hit them. The results have implications for the literature on testing for full insurance because it usually relies on household consumption net of medical expenditures as a measure of welfare. This fact shows that this literature might has underestimated the effects of health shocks on welfare.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Health shocks, household consumption, and child nutrition
Publisher version: http://www.ivie.es/ivie/servlet/DocumentoListadoSe...
Language: English
Keywords: Risk sharing, child nutrition, household consumption, intrahousehold, health shocks
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Economics
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/17388
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