Mitigating Long-run Health Effects of Drought: Evidence from South Africa
AbstractDrought is Africa’s primary natural disaster and a pervasive source of income risk for poor households. This paper documents the long-run health effects of early life exposure to drought and investigates an important source of heterogeneity in these effects. Combining birth cohort variation in South African Census data with cross-sectional and temporal drought variation, I estimate long-run health impacts of drought exposure among Africans confined to homelands during apartheid. Drought exposure in early childhood significantly raises later life male disability rates by 4% and reduces cohort size. Among a subset of homelands – the TBVC areas – disability effects are double and negative cohort effects are significantly larger. I show that differences in spatial mobility restrictions that influence the extent of migrant networks across TBVC and non-TBVC areas contribute to this heterogeneity. Placebo checks show no differential disability impacts of drought exposure across TBVC and non-TBVC areas after the repeal of migration restrictions. The results show that although drought has significant long-run effects on health human capital, migrant networks in poor economies provide one channel through which families mitigate these negative impacts of local environmental shock.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19756.
Date of creation: Dec 2013
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
- N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-12-29 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2013-12-29 (Development)
- NEP-ENV-2013-12-29 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-HEA-2013-12-29 (Health Economics)
- NEP-URE-2013-12-29 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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