Is There a Grand Convergence in Child Undernutrition Reduction? Evidence from 183 Countries

Shalem Balla, Shivani Gharge, Srinivas Goli, Srilakshmi Vedantam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to assess the progress of underweight, stunted, or wasted children across 183 countries from 1990 to 2015 using convergence models. Data for this study has been obtained from the World Bank Database and UNICEF (2020), which provides figures on underweight, stunting, and wasting prevalence for most countries. Data from national-level surveys were compiled for countries where the information was unavailable from the World Bank Database. For our empirical analysis, we have employed parametric convergence metrics like the absolute beta-convergence model.In contrast, nonparametric convergence models such as Kernel density plots, were used as robustness checks for our primary analyses. The absolute-convergence model suggests a convergence in the progress of underweight and wasted children between 1990 and 2015, whereas we find a divergence in progress towards the decline in stunted children between 1990-95 to 2010-15. However, the nonparametric convergence test suggests that except for wasting, the other two indicators of child nutrition show an emergence of multiple convergence clubs instead of a grand global convergence. At the same time, the regional heterogeneity test for the absolute convergence model suggests that our main findings still hold except for stunting in upper-middle-income countries, which supports the convergence hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Human Development and Capabilities
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Dec 2022


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