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Determinants of child undernutrition in India. A micro-case study to operationalize the Capability Approach

The present research aims at shedding light on the demanding puzzle characterizing the issue of child undernutrition in India. Indeed, the so called ‘Indian development paradox’ identifies the phenomenon according to which higher level of income per capita is recorded alongside a lethargic reduction in the proportion of underweight children aged below three years. Thus, in the time period occurring from 2000 to 2005, real Gross Domestic Production per capita has annually grown at 5.4%, whereas the proportion of children who are underweight has declined from 47% to 46%, a mere one point percent. Such trend opens up the space for discussing the traditionally assumed linkage between income-poverty and undernutrition as well as food intervention as the main focus of policies designed to fight child hunger. Also, it unlocks doors for evaluating the role of an alternative economic approach aiming at explaining undernutrition, such as the Capability Approach. The Capability Approach argues for widening the informational basis to account not only for resources, but also for variables related to liberties, opportunities and autonomy in pursuing what individuals value.The econometric analysis highlights the relevance of including behavioral factors when explaining child undernutrition. In particular, the ability of the mother to move freely in the community without the need of asking permission to her husband or mother-in-law is statistically significant when included in the model, which accounts also for confounding traditional variables, such as economic wealth and food security. Also, focusing on agency, results indicates the necessity of measuring autonomy in different domains and the need of improving the measurement scale for agency data, especially with regards the domain of household duties. Finally, future research is required to investigate policy venues for increasing agency in women and in the communities they live in as viable strategy for reducing the plague of child undernutrition in India.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:unibo.it/oai:amsdottorato.cib.unibo.it:4009
Date19 May 2011
CreatorsTinonin, Cecilia <1981>
ContributorsBrasili, Cristina
PublisherAlma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna
Source SetsUniversità di Bologna
LanguageEnglish
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeDoctoral Thesis, PeerReviewed
Formatapplication/pdf
Rightsinfo:eu-repo/semantics/restrictedAccess

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