Abstract

This paper examines the impact of pre-school malnutrition on subsequent human capital formation in rural Zimbabwe using a maternal fixed effects—instrumental variables (MFE-IV) estimator with a long term panel data set. Representations of civil war and drought shocks are used to identify differences in pre-school nutritional status across siblings. Improvements in height-for-age in pre-schoolers are associated with increased height as a young adult and number of grades of schooling completed. Had the median pre-school child in this sample had the stature of a median child in a developed country, by adolescence, she would be 3.4 centimeters taller, had completed an additional 0.85 grades of schooling and would have commenced school six months earlier.

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