Essays on Children's Well-being: Impacts of Policies and Approaches to Measurement

Hoolda Kim, Fordham University


This dissertation explores socioeconomic issues related to children’s well-being in developing countries. The first essay examines the effect of the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency on children’s health using the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey. The distance from each village to the border of South Sudan is used as an instrument for identifying the intensity of the conflict. We find that each conflict event in a village lowers weight-for-age and weight-for-height z-scores for children born after the conflict. We further investigate possible heterogeneous conflict effect on child health in terms of gender, region, and maternal education. Low household assets, limited access to health care, and poor maternal nutrition appear to be channels through which the conflict inhibits the growth and development of children five years after the end of the conflict. The second essay investigates associations between transitions in monetary and multidimensional poverty using the 2006 and 2009 Young Lives surveys in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam. While the headcount ratio in both measures of poverty decreases over time, there is only a limited overlap between the groups in monetary and multidimensional poverty in either or both waves. Children remaining in monetary poverty are more likely to stay in multidimensional poverty. However, children escaping from monetary poverty do not always exit from multidimensional poverty. The results suggest the need to go beyond traditional monetary poverty indicators to understand and monitor poverty dynamics among children. The third essay evaluates the impact of Health Care Fund for the Poor (HCFP) on healthcare utilization, health expenditure, and the health and education outcomes using the 2009 Vietnam Young Lives Survey. We find that HCFP beneficiaries are more likely to increase the use of inpatient and outpatient medical care compared to households with no health insurance while their health expenditure is not statistically different from each other in the young cohort. No effect of the program is found in the older cohort. The overall results suggest that the free health insurance program may improve healthcare utilization for households with young children.

Subject Area

Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Kim, Hoolda, "Essays on Children's Well-being: Impacts of Policies and Approaches to Measurement" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10278195.