Date of Award

6-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Moser

Second Advisor

Dr. Carson Reeling

Third Advisor

Dr. Mariam Konate

Abstract

Households experience multiple shocks, among which health-related and agricultural-related shocks are the most frequent shocks in developing economies. Households’ exposure to shocks contributes more to the risk of being food insecure than a poor resource endowment (Azeem et al., 2016). Moreover, in low-income countries about 3.5 million mothers and children under the age of five die every year because they are undernourished FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP AND WHO 2017). Sub-Sahara Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of undernourished people (22 percent) and stunted children (30 percent) (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP AND WHO 2017). Three of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are to eliminate hunger, improve child education and health outcomes.

This dissertation is a collection of three essays evaluating the persistent effect of shocks on food insecurity and the association between food insecurity and educational outcome and growth among children. For all the essays, I use data from three rounds of the Nigeria General Household Survey Panel (NGHSP) collected in 2010/2011, 2012/2013, and 2015/2016. In general, results from this dissertation show that shocks have a persistent and heterogeneous effect on food insecurity, and food insecurity has an adverse effect on school enrollment and growth.

The first essay evaluates the persistent effect of household shocks on food insecurity. The paper uses fixed-effect analysis techniques, to control for household time-invariant characteristics, and imposes a two-year gap between the shock occurrence and the measure of household food insecurity, to ensure a clear direction of the impact. The results from this paper show a heterogeneous effect of shocks: households who have experienced illness of an adult working member or harvest failure from poor rain are at a risk of food insecurity for several years. Households harmed by transitory price shocks, on the other hand, are vulnerable to food insecurity only for a relatively short period.

The second essay investigates the effect of household food insecurity on enrollment among school age. The paper addresses the issue of endogeneity in food insecurity by using rainfall and price of rice as instrumental variables, and employs Probit-Instrumental Variables (IV) and Two-Stage Least Squares (2SLS)-IV models. The results show that children in food insecure households are less likely to be in school, and this result is more pronounced among children in rural areas compared to those in urban areas.

The third essay investigates the consequences of food insecurity on children’s growth, namely Height-for-Age and Weight-for-Age z-scores using Ordinary Linear Squares (OLS) technique, while controlling for previous child’s z-scores. Results show that children who live in food insecure households have low weight and height for their age, but the timing of food insecurity matters. In the case of Nigeria, post-planting food insecurity has a larger effect on weight-for-age and height-for-age than post-harvest measures and these effects can be seen several years later.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

6-2020

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