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2007 AEC - Child Malnutrition in Senegal: Does access to Public Infrastructure Really Matter? A Quantile Regression Analysis
In this paper we analyse the effect of access to public infrastructure, i.e. safe water and health facilities, on child nutritional status defined by height-for-age z-scores in Senegal. Quantile regression methods are used to achieve a more complete picture of the infrastructure effect. This technique has an advantage over the traditional ordinary least squares method as it does not assume a constant effect of the explanatory variables over the entire distribution of the dependent variable. To deal with the potential endogeneity of household expenditures in a child health production function, we use instrumental variables methods. To the best of our knowledge, this paper provides the first empirical analysis of the impact of public infrastructure on child health using an instrumental variables quantile regression approach. Contrary to OLS estimates, we find that access to safe water improves the height-for-age of the lowest (10th) quantile and the effect of health facilities is significant for the 10th , 25th , 50th percentiles at the national level. However, in rural areas, only health facilities have a positive and significant effect on child health. The heterogeneity of this effect is shown using quantile regression, and we find that the effect of health facilities is more important to the lowest quantile and is decreasing. Safe water also improves child health up to the 10th percentile.