Living Standards and Public Policy in Central Asia: What Can Be Learned from Child Anthropometry?
Data on the weight and height of children are used to assess living standards and public policy in Uzbekistan, the most populous of the Central Asian republics. The paper begins by making the case for the use of such data, contrasting them with monetized measures of welfare based on household incomes or expenditures, before going on to review the problems of interpretation that anthropometry presents for the economist. The prevalence of stunting and wasting in three regions of Uzbekistan is compared with that in neighbouring Kazakhstan and with other countries from outside the region. Multivariate analysis is then used to test three hypotheses concerning rural-urban differences in living standards, the impact of kindergartens on nutritional status, and the targeting of means-tested social assistance.
economic transition; rural-urban disparity; standard of living;
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