Malnutrition is recognised as a major issue among low-income households in developing countries with long-term implications for economic development. Recently, crop diversification has been considered as a strategy to improve nutrition and health. However, there is no systematic empirical evidence on the role played by crop diversification in improving human health.

The authors of this paper use three waves of the Tanzania National Panel Survey to test the effect of crop diversification on child health. They implement two instrumental variable approaches, and perform several robustness checks to address potential endogeneity concerns.

The authors find a positive but small effect of an increase in crop diversification on child height-for-age z-score, through greater dietary diversity. The effect is larger for subsistence households and children living in households with limited market access.

This paper updates a previous version published in October 2015.

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