Food Inflation and Child Health

Malnutrition is one of the most important early life shocks that have lasting effects on health. An often neglected cause of malnutrition and hidden hunger is high food inflation, particularly in developing countries. This study uses the Ethiopian …

Food Inflation and Child Health--Evidence from Ethiopia

We examine the medium- and long-term impacts of exposure to food inflation during the critical window of early life on child health. We use the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey data, matching each child's early life months since conception with the corresponding monthly local food price data. We find that exposure to 10% staples food inflation during the first trimester of the fetus increases the risk of childhood stunting by almost 1.9%. We further find that the impacts are non-linear, reflecting the complicated biological mechanisms through which nutrition affects human growth. There is also considerable heterogeneity in the impacts.