What drives the large disparities in height-for-age distributions among Indian states - variation in observed nutrition-related endowments, such as wealth or maternal education, or differential strengths of relationships across states between endowments and height-for-age? We explore this question by comparing a set of states with poor nutrition outcomes with the benchmark of Tamil Nadu, a good performer. Applying counterfactual decomposition methods to National Family Health Survey data, we find that surprisingly modest proportions of HAZ differences are attributable to endowment differences. We discuss our results in light of the superior track record of food and nutrition policies in Tamil Nadu.
Cavatorta, E.; Shankar, B.; Flores-Martinez, A. Explaining Cross-State Disparities in Child Nutrition in Rural India. World Development (2015) 76: 216-237. [DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.07.006]