Early-Childhood Growth Faltering, Post-Infancy Recovery and Educational Outcomes in Late Childhood: Evidence from Vietnam

Working paper number: 
14-04
Paper Abstract: 
We use longitudinal data on over 1,500 children born in 2001 in Vietnam to study the impact of early childhood stunting on height, lagging in schooling progression and cognitive outcomes in late childhood (age 8-10 years). Our preferred estimates utilize 2SLS estimators to control for the endogenous determination of early childhood stunting and also include control for child sex and birth order, mother’s height and BMI, household socioeconomic status, and community characteristics. These estimates indicate that deficits in height-for-age at age 12 months have negative impacts on height in late childhood but not on schooling and cognitive outcomes in late childhood. The children who were stunted or moderately stunted at age 12 months display significant catch-up growth, recovering half of their deficits in height-for-age by age 8 years. Socioeconomic status in infancy has negative effects on both stunting in infancy and poor subsequent educational outcomes in late childhood, which result in significant associations between stunting in infancy and some subsequent educational outcomes in late childhood – but not causal effects once there is control for the endogenous determination of early childhood height deficits.