The impact of employment on the health of South African children aged 6 to 60 months : a quantitative analysis of the 2008 National Income Dynamics Study.
This study’s main aim is to investigate the impact of adult household members’ employment on the health of children aged 6 to 60 months, with a particular focus on whether the gender of the employed adults matter. The study uses South African data from the nationally representative National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS), and children’s health will be measured using the two anthropometric indicators height-for-age and weight-for-age to indicate stunting and underweight respectively. The sample consists of about 1700 children, and both descriptive and econometric analysis are utilised to show correlations between child health outcomes and employment. The econometric analysis was performed using a logit model, and results show an association between employment in the household and child stunting, while no association is found between employment and child underweight. The main finding of the study is that living in households where one or more women (and no men) have employment reduces the likelihood of children being stunted. No health gain is found for living in households with only employed men, or living in households where both men and women have employment, relative to living in households where no one has employment. These results are robust to controlling for household expenditure per capita and a variety of other household characteristics. Employment thus seems to have a positive impact on children’s health, but the effect is only present in households where only females have employment.