Globalisation and national trends in nutrition and health -a grouped fixed-effects approach to inter-country heterogeneity

Abstract : Using a panel dataset of 70 countries spanning 42 years (1970-2011), we investigate the distinct effects of social globalisation and trade openness on national trends in markers of diet quality (supplies of animal proteins, free fats and sugar, average body mass index – BMI – and diabetes prevalence). Our key methodological contribution is the application of a grouped fixed-effects (GFE) estimator, which extends linear fixed-effects models. The GFE estimator partitions our sample into distinct groups of countries in order to control for time-varying unobserved heterogeneity that follows a group-specific pattern. We find that increasing social globalisation has a significant impact on the supplies of animal protein and sugar available for human consumption, as well as on mean BMI. Specific components of social globalisation such as information flows (via television and the Internet) drive these results. Trade openness has no effect on dietary outcomes or health. These findings suggest that the social and cultural aspects of globalisation should receive greater attention in research on the nutrition transition.
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Lisa Oberländer, Anne-Célia Disdier, Fabrice Etilé. Globalisation and national trends in nutrition and health -a grouped fixed-effects approach to inter-country heterogeneity. 2017. ⟨halshs-01400829v2⟩

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