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Intrahousehold and interhousehold child nutrition inequality in Malawi

Mussa, Richard (2011): Intrahousehold and interhousehold child nutrition inequality in Malawi.

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The allocation of resources within households may not be equal, and this may lead to different outcomes including health outcomes for household members. This paper investigates whether child nutrition inequalities are attributable to differences between households or differences within households in Malawi. Using a linear model with random effects, we derive a method to estimate the between and within contributions of both the explained and unexplained variances of child nutrition. Child nutrition is measured using height-for-age z-scores, and weight-for-height z-scores. The empirical analysis uses the 2006 multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS) data. We find evidence of within household nutritional bias along gender, age, and birth order lines in Malawi. The results for rural and urban areas, as well as ethnic and religious groups show that nutrition inequalities largely stem from differences within households. Intrahousehold nutrition inequalities are however less explained by observables, while interhousehold inequalities are more explained by observables.

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