Three essays on economic development and human capital formation in India

  • Vivian Ikwuoma NNETU-OKOLIEUWA

Student thesis: PhD Thesis (Lingnan)

Abstract

This thesis comprises of three essays on economic development and human capital formation in India using the Young Lives Survey Data. The first essay analyses the effect of family health shocks on nutrition and cognitive development. The results from the essay shows that mother’s illness, father’s death and illness of both parents have a significant negative effect on the child’s nutrition. While mother’s illness and father’s illness have a significant negative effect on the cognitive development of the child. Furthermore, we examine the mechanism through which family health shocks affect the human capital development of children. Our results show mother’s illness and illness of both parents leads to reallocation of time while father’s illness and death of the father affects the income of the household, reduces the dietary diversity of the household and also leads to reallocation of the child’s time. Finally, the results show that female children from rural areas who are members of lower castes have negative outcomes in the face of health shocks and that the social network of the households can help mitigate the negative effects of the shocks.

The second essay studies the impact of natural disasters on the human capital development of children in India. In this part of the essay, we analyse if the resilience of the household is capable of mitigating the negative effect of these natural disasters on the nutrition. The results from the essay show that natural disasters have a negative impact on the nutrition of the child. However, children from more resilient households have a lower probability of been malnourished compared to children from less resilient households. Again, we find that when a shock occurs, children who are from more resilient households have better outcomes than children who are from less resilient households. Finally, we examine the individual pillars of resilience to find out which pillar has a greater impact on reducing the negative effects of the shock and find that households which have more assets and access to social safety nets are able to mitigate the negative effects of the shock.

Finally, the third essay looks at non-parental care and the human capital development of children in India. The results show that children in non-parental care had lower development outcomes compared with their counterparts in parental care. However, this result is driven by attendance of formal care centres. This is because we find no significant effect of attending informal care centres on the child’s developmental outcomes while attending formal care centres has a significant negative effect on the child’s development. This implies children in formal care have worst developmental outcomes than children in parental care. Further analysis shows that this result depends on the standard of care and teaching at the formal care centres. Such that, children in formal care centres with good standard have better outcomes than children in parental care while children in formal care centres with bad standards of teaching and care have lower outcomes than their counterparts in parental care.
Date of Award3 Jul 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorXiangdong WEI (Supervisor) & Ho Lun Alex WONG (Supervisor)

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