It's only halfway through the week, but the nutrition stuff is stacking up.
An interesting new paper (here is the working paper version) from the Review of Economics and Statistics (one of the harder to get into journals) by Luis Braido, Pedro Olinto and Helena Perrone, who explore (random enough) accidental exclusions of families from the Bolsa Alimentacao (or BA, one of the CCT programmes in Brazil). BA is targeted to women, so the random enough accidental exclusion generates a natural experiment: households in BA for whom resources are transferred to the senior woman in the household versus BA eligible households who (unfortunately) receive no transfer. The authors ideally need an experiment that randomly allocates who receive the cash transfer, men or women. But they do not have this, they have female income transfers versus no income transfer.
So they look at different household sub groups to see if the differences in impact on food expenditure between female income and no income vary for different household groups: (1) households with no adult males, (2) households with male and female adults but where the eligible female has an additional source of income she can lay claim to and (3) households with male and female adults but where the transfer is the only source of income to the eligible woman.
They find the (female income--no income) impact differential on food expenditures does not vary by household group and conclude that BA does not give an extra boost to food security and diet quality via the female income effect. An interesting paper and somewhat against the orthodoxy. A good reminder, as Micheal Lipton often says, that we researchers should always be testing our priors rather than peddling them.
Here is an interesting new blog from Robert Chambers (Sanitation and Hygiene: Undernutrition’s Blind Spot) arguing that Fecal Related Infections have been overlooked in the fight against undernutrition. He may just be right.
A speech from Tony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, to the G8, arguing that the other 4 members (Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia) need to join up to the Scaling Up Nutrition movement. A nice piece from the new Chair of the SUN Lead Group.
An interesting piece on the Reuters wire from Megan Rowling "How do you count the world's hungry people?" documenting the challenges of assessing hunger (personally I think 1 billion might be too low given the comparisons with household survey data in Africa--see my Save UK powerpoints referred to below).
A short policy brief from IDS on Nutrition Governance: Can It Help Accelerate Undernutrition Reduction? (by Andres Mejia Acostsa, Jessica Fanzo (WFP) and me. Summarises a six-country study and comes up with some key features on an enabling environment for nutrition status promotion. An interesting and different take on nutrition governance, even if I do say so.
I started the week at Save the Children UK with their impressive new team of Nuria Molina, Director of Policy and Research and David McNair, Head of Growth and Livelihoods. I was presenting with John Beddington, the UK's Chief Scientist, on some of the Foresight work from last year, updated with some more recent work. My powerpoints are here. Save UK reaffirmed their leadership on undernutrition issues, and we had a useful discussion of some of the research gaps and some of the strategic footholds they may create/identify over the coming 18 months in their nutrition work.
Yesterday IDS had a visit from Bruce Cogill, one of the authors of the famous Lancet series on nutrition from 2008 and now the head of nutrition and biodiversity at Bioversity International, one of the 16 CGIAR international agricultural research centers (you can see him in action here). Bruce is developing an interesting programme of work around biodiversity, resilience, dietary quality and nutrition. Worth keeping track of (Bruce and the work).
We have 3 PhD scholarships available to work with the IDS team on the Transform Nutrition Research Programme Consortium. Check it out. You even get to have me boss you around...