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Civil War, Crop Failure, and the Health Status of Young Children

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  • Akresh, Richard

    ()
    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

  • Verwimp, Philip

    ()
    (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

Economic shocks at birth have lasting impacts on children’s health several years after the shock. We calculate height for age z-scores for children under age five using data from a Rwandan nationally representative household survey conducted in 1992. We exploit district and time variation in crop failure and civil conflict to measure the impact of exogenous shocks that children experience at birth on their height several years later. We find that girls born after a shock in a region experiencing these events exhibit 0.72 standard deviations lower height for age z-scores and the impact is worse for poor households. There is no impact of these shocks on boys’ health status. Results are robust to using household level production and rainfall shocks as alternative measures of crop failure. The analysis also contributes to the debate on the economic conditions prevailing on the eve of the Rwandan genocide.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2359.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2011, 59(4), 777-810
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2359

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Keywords: Africa; civil war; economic shocks; child health; rainfall shocks;

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  1. John Bellows & Edward Miguel, 2006. "War and Institutions: New Evidence from Sierra Leone," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 394-399, May.
  2. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing. 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  3. Behrman, Jere R, 1988. "Intrahousehold Allocation of Nutrients in Rural India: Are Boys Favored? Do Parents Exhibit Inequality Aversion?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 32-54, March.
  4. Sharon Maccini & Dean Yang, 2009. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1006-26, June.
  5. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Elizabeth Frankenberg & James P. Smith & Duncan Thomas, 2003. "Economic Shocks, Wealth, and Welfare," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
  7. Elaina Rose, 1999. "Consumption Smoothing and Excess Female Mortality in Rural India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 41-49, February.
  8. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
  9. Thomas, Duncan & Lavy, Victor & Strauss, John, 1996. "Public policy and anthropometric outcomes in the Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 155-192, August.
  10. Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & DEC, 1994. "Intrahousehold resource allocation : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1255, The World Bank.
  11. Andre, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-47, January.
  12. Yamauchi, Futoshi, 2006. "Early childhood nutrition, schooling, and sibling inequality in a dynamic context: evidence from South Africa," FCND discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 203, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp, 2006. "Poverty Dynamics, Violent Conflict and Convergence in Rwanda," HiCN Working Papers 16, Households in Conflict Network.
  14. Clay, Daniel & Reardon, Thomas & Kangasniemi, Jaakko, 1998. "Sustainable Intensification in the Highland Tropics: Rwandan Farmers' Investments in Land Conservation and Soil Fertility," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 351-77, January.
  15. Patricia Justino, 2006. "On the Links between Violent Conflict and Chronic Poverty: How Much Do We Really Know?," HiCN Working Papers 18, Households in Conflict Network.
  16. Philip Verwimp & Jan Van Bavel, 2004. "Child Survival and the Fertility of Refugees in Rwanda after the Genocide," PRUS Working Papers, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex 26, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
  17. Verwimp, Philip, 2005. "An economic profile of peasant perpetrators of genocide: Micro-level evidence from Rwanda," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 297-323, August.
  18. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mayra Buvinic & Monica Das Gupta & Ursula Casabonne & Philip Verwimp, 2012. "Violent Conflict and Gender Inequality: An Overview," Working Papers CEB, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles 12-028, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Parlow, Anton, 2011. "Education and armed conflict: the Kashmir insurgency in the nineties," MPRA Paper 38010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Parlow, Anton, 2012. "Armed conflict and children's health - exploring new directions: The case of Kashmir," MPRA Paper 38033, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Bruck, Tilman & Schindler, Kati, 2008. "The Impact of Conflict and Fragility on Households: A Conceptual Framework with Reference to Widows," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) RP2008/83, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  5. Hartwig, R. & Grimm, M., 2010. "An assessment of the effects of the 2002 food crisis on children's health in Malawi," ISS Working Papers - General Series, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague 489, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  6. Justino, Patricia & Leone, Marinella & Salardi, Paola, 2011. "Education and conflict recovery : the case of Timor Leste," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5774, The World Bank.
  7. Prado C. Alfaiate, Jorge, 2009. "Mozambique and natural disasters: human capital under threat," MPRA Paper 18189, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Sonia Laszlo & Franque Grimard, 2010. "Long Term Effects Of Civil Conflict On Women'S Health Outcomes In Peru," Departmental Working Papers, McGill University, Department of Economics 2010-05, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  9. Franque Grimard & Sonia Laszlo & Wilfredo Lim, 2008. "Health, Aging And Socio-Economic Conditions In Mexico," Departmental Working Papers, McGill University, Department of Economics 2008-06, McGill University, Department of Economics.

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