Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Seminar Papers,
Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies

No 699: Hunger in India - Facts and Challenges

Peter Svedberg ()
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Peter Svedberg: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, Postal: Stockholm University, S-106 69 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: A very large data set on the incidence of children with an anthropometric status below standard norms in India has recently been made available to the international research community. This paper is a preliminary attempt to provide a “map” of the anthropometric status of children in the region (developments over time, by state, and the urban/rural divide). Of special interest is that the question of differences along gender lines can be examined for a considerably larger and more representative set of observations (up to 46 000 children from all Indian states) than has feasible earlier. The surprising result – in sharp contrast to previous findings and conventional wisdom – is that there are no systematic or significant differences in the frequency of male and female children below the height and weight norms. Some tentative hypotheses for this result is offered in the paper, but more thorough examination and tests are work in progress.

Keywords: Undernourishment; anthropometrics; gender; India

JEL-codes: I12; J10; J16; O18

40 pages, February 6, 2002

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