Last updated January 2009
Samuel Fambon; Francis Menjo Baye
This study seeks to evaluate spill-over effects of literacy on child nutritional status, controlling for other covariates. Specifically, it estimates the determinants of demand for literacy (endogenous in the health production function); evaluates the complementary effects of literacy on child nutritional; and disaggregates these effects by zone of residence, poverty status and gender.
The 2001 Cameroon household consumption survey data together with the software STATA 9.1 is used to generate empirical results. Land related assets positively explained the demand for literacy by household heads, while the opportunity cost of time and distance to access public goods where, on the average, unambiguously negatively associated with demand for literacy programmes. As regards the production of child health and nutritional, control function modeling was preferred because it can be applied to purge the structural parameters of most potential econometric problems. Literacy status of household heads and nutrition of under-3-year old children are found to be positively and significantly associated. This result is attributable to spill-over effects of literacy on child health and nutrition and considered as validating the complementary hypothesis. The rural, poor, nonpoor and male sub-samples registered complementary effects of literacy that are in excess of the national average. In particular, the male household head sub-sample captured effects of literacy on child nutrition that were almost twice that depicted by the pooled sample—a result attributable to synergy achieved by working as a couple when seeking healthcare technologies. Moreover, nutritionists and economists expect that healthy and well-nourished children would enhance future schooling outcomes and productivity of these children when they become adults and thereby fostering more rapid economic growth. This is indication that public expenditures on literacy programmes can have both short- and long-term implications for reproductive health and child nutrition, as well as economic growth and development.
Samuel Fambon, email@example.com
; Francis Menjo Baye, firstname.lastname@example.org
, University of Yaoundé II