Assignment 4: Bivariate statistics
To be submitted electronically
Quantitative methods for conflict studies and human rights, ECH3360
1. Amartya Sen famously wrote that “No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a func-
tioning democracy”.1 In this exercise you will undertake to examine the link between democracy and
child malnutrition, to shed empirical light on Sen’s statement. The file democracy underweight.csv
provides data at the country level on two variables: (1) the proportion of underweight children 0-5
years old in each country. This variable is divided into three categories: Low: 0 to 14% of children in
the country are underweight; Medium: 14 to 28% of children underweight; High: 28 to 42% of children
underweight,2 and (2) whether the country is a democracy (TRUE/FALSE).3
(a) Make a cross-tabulation that shows the number of countries that take on each level for the two
variables (i.e., how many countries are highly democratic and have a medium proportion of mal-
nourished children, etc.). (Hint: the table should columns and rows with one variable (democracy,
malnutrition) in each – see below. You may find Excel’s PivotTable function useful.) Make sure
your table is well-labeled and clear.
Malnutrition True False
Low – –
Med – –
High – –
Figure 1: Example of a cross-tabulation
(b) Conduct a χ2 test to test whether there is a relationship between democracy and child malnutri-
tion. Show your calculations. Interpret the findings.
(c) Does this provide evidence that democracy causes improvements children’s nutrition? Use the
”four hurdles” framework from Kellstedt and Whitten to structure your answer.
2. In a recent study, Banerjee et al. (2015) provide evidence from a randomized controlled trial on how
a multifaceted program can help to improve the lives of the very poor.4 The file banerjee data.csv
includes the data for one country analyzed by Banerjee – Ethiopia. The variable id is a unique identifier
number for each household. The variable treatment indicates whether the household was provided an
income support program (1) or not (0). Because this was a randomized controlled trial, the treatment
status of the household was randomly assigned by Banerjee et al. (2015) as part of the experiment.
The variables foodsecurity bsl and foodsecurity end are indices that measures five components
of food security.5 The food security indices are numeric, and are constructed so that a score of 0
indicates a household is at the mean food security level for all the households included in the sample,
a positive score indicates the household is more food secure than the mean household in the sample,
and vice-versa for a negative score. The suffix bsl refers to the measure of food security before the
program was implemented, and the suffix end refers to the same measure 3 years after the program
1Sen, Amartya, 1999, Democracy as Freedom, Knopf.
2Data come from the World Bank.
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