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Remittances channels and the physical growth of Honduran children

Larry L. Howard and Denise L. Stanley

International Review of Applied Economics, 2017, vol. 31, issue 3, 376-397

Abstract: Ensuring the availability of food and other resources for young children is important for sustaining physical growth. We examine the role of remittances and its associated implications in determining heights and weights of 4459 children aged 0–5 years in Honduras in 2004. To address the endogeneity problem with household remittance receipt, we take advantage of the timing of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 to construct instrumental variables that are exogenously related to migration decisions made before children included in the later survey were conceived. We find that children are significantly taller and heavier for their age and gender in households receiving remittances. Further investigation of household spending indicates significant changes in food purchases and dietary diversity. Households receiving remittances are more likely to include fish, fruits, and meats in their diets. Additional findings also indicate that households receiving remittances spend absolutely more on food, health care, education, and durable goods. Overall, the findings provide strong evidence that remittances change household consumption and increase children’s body sizes.

Date: 2017
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