Does Market Access Mitigate the Impact of Seasonality on Child Growth? Panel Data Evidence from Northern Ethiopia
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Seasonality in agricultural production continues to shape intra-annual food availability in low-income countries. Using high-frequency panel data from northern Ethiopia, this study attempts to quantify seasonal fluctuations in children's weights. Consistent with earlier studies, we document considerable seasonality in children's age and height adjusted weights. While children located closer to local food markets are better nourished compared to their counterparts residing farther away, their weights are also subject to considerable seasonality. Further analysis shows that children located closer to food markets consume more diverse diets than those located farther away but the content of the diet varies across seasons. This leads us to conclude that households located near these food markets are not able to insulate their children from seasonal weight fluctuations. We discuss some policy options with potential to address this threat to child wellbeing.
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