Handa, Sudhanshu; King, Damien
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Economics
Adjustment with a human face? Evidence from Jamaica
Date of Publication
Earlier version presented at a conference in Washington, D.C. , November 13-14, 2001.
Evaluates the 'social cost' of Jamaica's liberalization policy in 1991 by examining the behaviour of preschool children's weight for height or wasting, an indicator of nutritional status that is sensitive to short term fluctuations in living conditions. Applies 'synthetic cohort' analysis to disentangle the separate impacts of child's age, date of birth and measurement date, on weight or height using 8 years of nutritional microsurvey data for 1989-96. Notes that estimates based on an exhaustive set of controls indicate that children weighed in the atermath of the policy (November and December 1991) are significantly lighter (0.178z-scores) than children weighed just a few months later and children in urban areas were especially affected. Agues that when food price inflation is explicitly entered into the model, it is highly statistically significant, and reduces (but only slightly) the effect of being measured at the end of 1991. Concludes that the calculated elasticity of weight for height z-score with respect to food price inflation is a very high - 0.86 and that during the rapid economic reform in 1991, this elasticity rose to -1.24, indicating a large response of weight for height to food price inflation.....