BICEPS/SSE Riga Research Seminar: Economic Development, the Nutrition Trap and Metabolic Disease

We kindly invite you to the BICEPS/SSE Riga research seminar! It will take place on Thursday, December 5 at 17.00 in room 611 with the presentation:

“Economic Development, the Nutrition Trap and Metabolic Disease” by Swapnil Singh (Bank of Lithuania), co-authored with Nancy Luke (Pennsylvania State University), Kaivan Munshi (University of Cambridge), Anu Mary Oommen (Christian Medical College).


This research provides a unified explanation for: (i) the persistence of malnutrition and (ii) the increased prevalence of metabolic disease (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease) among normal weight individuals with economic development. Our theory is based on an epigenetically determined set point for BMI or bodyweight, which is adapted to conditions of scarcity in the pre-modern economy, but which subsequently fails to adjust to rapid economic change. During the process of development, some individuals thus remain at their low-BMI set point, despite the increase in their consumption, while others who have escaped the nutrition trap (but are not necessarily overweight) are at increased risk of metabolic disease. The theory is validated with microdata from India, Indonesia, and Ghana and can simultaneously explain inter-regional (Asia-Africa) differences in nutritional status and the prevalence of diabetes.


Swapnil Singh got his PhD in Economics from University of Amsterdam in 2017.  At present he holds a Principal Research Economist position at the Bank of Lithuania and a researcher position at Kaunas University of Technology. His research interest lies in quantitative macroeconomics (household finance) and development economics. His present work in development economics focuses on human capital. With respect to quantitative macroeconomics, he is working on the  household participation in the mortgage market.


Next seminars in 2020

2020-01-09         “Can large trade shocks cause crises? The case of the Finnish-Soviet trade collapse” by Adam Gulan (Bank of Finland).

2020-01-23         “Lights along the frontier: convergence of economic activity in the proximity of the Polish-German border, 1992-2012” by Michal Myck (CenEA).

2020-02-06        “Does Nationalization Work? Evidence from Government Takeovers in Russia” by Carsten Sprenger (NES).


No prior registration for the seminar is necessary. For any questions about the seminar, or if you have a colleague that would like to be added to the distribution list, please write to Nicolas Gavoille.