Transportation development accompanies economic development, both as a driver of growth and as an outcome of economy-wide investments made possible by growth. Evidence of the effects of roads and road quality on human well-being is limited. This paper studies the association between district-level transportation infrastructure and district-average child nutrition outcomes in Nepal. We combine two rounds of nationally representative data on child growth from the 2006 and 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Surveys with district-level information on roads and road quality.
Abstract:?This paper studies the connections between child nutrition and food prices in Nepal. Data from a number of sources are combined, including the 2006 and 2011 Nepal Demographic Health Surveys and monthly retail food price data collected over the period 2002 to 2010 from 34 districts of Nepal. A total of 4,038 children are used for the analysis (2,765 from 2006 and 1,273 from 2011). Price data are selected for six food commodities important for child nutrition outcomes: coarse rice, wheat flour, sugar, ghee, soybean and milk.
We study transportation infrastructure and food markets in Nepal over the period 2002 to 2010, combining monthly price data from thirty-seven local and regional markets, and seven Indian border markets. We use a series of autoregressive models to study price determination, spatial and temporal price transmission, and price variance. We account for district-level agricultural production, correcting for bi-directional causality between output and prices using ground station rainfall data.
A majority of Nepalese households are net buyers of food and depend on markets for their food purchases (CBS 2011). As a result, market performance and food prices directly influence levels of household consumption. These, in turn, can influence nutrition outcomes. Given the potentially deleterious effects of high food prices on child nutrition outcomes in food-purchasing households, one of the important pathways to reducing child malnutrition rates over time is likely to be by increasing market efficiency and reducing food prices.