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Publication - Dr Leandro De Magalhaes

    The costs of consumption smoothing

    less schooling and less nutrition


    De Magalhaes, L, Koh, D & Santaeulàlia-Llopis, R, 2019, ‘The costs of consumption smoothing: less schooling and less nutrition’. Journal of Demographic Economics, vol 85., pp. 181-208


    Using novel micro data, we explore lifecycle consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We find that households' ability to smooth consumption over the lifecycle is large, particularly, in rural areas. Consumption in old age is sustained by shifting to self-farmed staple food, as opposed to traditional savings mechanisms or food gifts. This smoothing strategy indicates two important costs. The first cost is a loss of human capital as children seem to be diverted away from school and into producing self-farmed food. Second, a diet largely concentrated in staple food (e.g., maize in Malawi) in old age results in a loss of nutritional quality for households headed by the elderly.

    Full details in the University publications repository