Author: Erin Lentz, Elizabeth Bageant, and Sudha Narayanan
Title: Empowerment and Nutrition in Niger: Insights from the Women’s Empowerment in Nutrition Grid
Abstract: We present a novel application of a regression decomposition technique, the Shapley Owen decomposition, to identify the aspects of empowerment associated with undernutrition in Niger. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, and has fared consistently poorly on a range of human development indicators, including women’s nutritional status. Nutritional status is the outcome of a complex set of interdependent factors; empowerment too is a multidimensional concept. It is often unclear which policy interventions unequivocally empower women in ways that improve nutritional wellbeing. We aim to identify areas of intervention by categorizing the drivers of nutrition into a series of domains (food, health, fertility and institutions) and empowerment dimensions (knowledge, resources, and agency). We then we predict body mass and anemia based on these domain-dimensions and other controls using Demographic and Health Survey data for Niger. Broadly, we find that access to the domain-dimensions of health resources and fertility resources play a substantial role in nutritional outcomes in Niger. We also consider variations across subpopulations. By identifying the relative contribution of each domain-dimension, our approach offers a unique insight into what sectors are most closely related to the nutritional status of Nigerien women.
Keywords: West Africa; nutrition; gender; empowerment; nutrition-sensitive
JEL Code: J16, D13, I00, I3