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

Adjaye-Gbewonyo, K; Vollmer, S; Avendano, M; Harttgen, K; (2019) Agricultural trade policies and child nutrition in low- and middle-income countries: a cross-national analysis. Globalization and Health , 15 , Article 21. 10.1186/s12992-019-0463-0. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: Agricultural trade policies and child nutrition in low- and middle-income countries: a cross-national analysis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12992-019-0463-0
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-019-0463-0
Language: English
Additional information: 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.
Keywords: Nutrition status, Trade, Agriculture, Policy, Food prices, Nominal rate of assistance, Liberalization
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > SHS Faculty Office
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > SHS Faculty Office > UCL Institute for Advanced Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071818
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