It Takes a Farmers’ Group to Raise a Child: The Impacts of Local Social Networks on Child Health Outcomes in Ugandan Internally-Displaced Persons Camps

Sarah Adelman, University of Maryland

Long term economic development depends on household investments in children’s human capital. Social networks can affect demand for human capital investments by relaxing household time or budget constraints or by defining and reinforcing human capital preferences. Rebel activity in Northern Uganda, which forced households into Internally Displaced Persons camps, disrupted pre-existing social networks in ways that were exogenous to household human capital investment preferences. This paper uses the exogenous variation in network disruption to identify the impact of networks on child health outcomes. Using household survey data from the Uganda School-Based Feeding Evaluation, household data collected by the author, and administrative data from the World Food Programme and local governments, I show that an increase in the average household’s network size by one household improves height-for-age z-scores by .27 standard deviations for children born in the camp.

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Presented in Poster Session 3