Asset index, child nutritional status and pro-poor growth analysis in Malawi

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP20/2015
 
Publication date: 2015
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
 
Abstract:

This paper contains spatial and intertemporal comparisons of multidimensional poverty and inequality in Malawi using two non-monetary dimensions, namely an asset index and child nutritional status. Through stochastic dominance tests, we establish that poverty and inequality are unambiguously higher in rural areas, the Southern region and households headed by females. We find, using decomposition analysis, that most poor people live in rural areas which make up 85% of total population. Poverty comparisons over time, between 1992 and 2010, show that poverty has significantly declined in Malawi and that these gains have largely been pro-poor in both absolute and relative terms. The paper shows that Malawi’s poverty profile is a ‘bad picture’ in the sense that almost half of the population is still poor but a ‘good movie’ in that the incidence of poverty has fallen from as high as 80%. Interestingly, we find that poverty and inequality estimates do not vary much across regions and areas with respect to child nutritional status but large differences exist when assets are used. We also find that stunting is a bigger problem among under-5 children in Malawi than wasting and being underweight. Econometric analysis shows that asset ownership is positively associated with household size (suggesting economies of scale), age of household head and education attainment. Age dependency ratio and shocks to sickness are negatively associated with asset ownership. Multivariate analysis of child nutrition reveals that malnutrition first worsens before improvement begins to take place at some critical age. This is consistent with possible recovery from malnutrition as has been found in some of the studies that track children over time. Also consistent with some literature is the finding that boys have weaker nutritional status than girls.

 
JEL Classification:

D, D3, D31

Keywords:

Pro-poor growth analysis, asset index, child nutritional status, Malawi

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BER Weekly

13 September 2021
It was a data-heavy week in SA, with the 2021Q2 real GDP data indicating that the economy had better-than-expected recovery momentum in the first half of the year. While growth remained solid in the second quarter, both the survey and actual data released last week revealed the significant impact that the range of shocks at the start of the third quarter...

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