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Gone With the Wind? Hurricane Risk, Fertility and Education

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  • Claus Portner

Abstract

Despite a large literature on fertility and education there has been little research on how these joint decisions are affected by risks and shocks. This paper uses data on hurricanes in Guatemala combined with a household survey to analyse how households' decisions on fertility and investments in education respond to both risk and shocks. The data on hurricanes cover the period 1880 to 1997 and allow for the calculation of hurricane risk by municipality. An increase in risk leads to higher fertility for households with land, while households without land reduce fertility. For both types of households higher risk is associated with higher education but the effect is largest for households without land. Negative shocks lead to decreases in both fertility and education. There is a compensatory effect later in life for fertility, but not for education, indicating that births "lost" to shocks can be made up but lost schooling cannot. The most convincing explanation for these patterns is parents' need for insurance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Washington, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number UWEC-2006-19-R.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision: Feb 2008
Handle: RePEc:udb:wpaper:uwec-2006-19-r

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References

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  1. Mette Ejrnæs & Claus C. Pörtner, 2004. "Birth Order and the Intrahousehold Allocation of Time and Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1008-1019, November.
  2. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
  3. Dean Yang & HwaJung Choi, 2005. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," Working Papers 535, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  4. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1996. "Technical Change and Human-Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 931-53, September.
  5. Burgess, Robin & Stern, Nicholas, 1993. "Taxation and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 762-830, June.
  6. Beegle, Kathleen & Dehejia, Rajeev & Gatti, Roberta, 2005. "Why should we care about child labor? The education, labor market, and health consequences of child labor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3479, The World Bank.
  7. Stefan Dercon, 1993. "Risk, crop choice and savings: evidence from Tanzania," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1993-02, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Tommy Bengtsson & Martin Dribe, 2006. "Deliberate control in a natural fertility population: Southern Sweden, 1766–1864," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 727-746, November.
  9. Beegle, Kathleen & Dehejia, Rajeev H. & Gatti, Roberta, 2006. "Child labor and agricultural shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 80-96, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Finlay, Jocelyn E., 2009. "Fertility response to natural disasters : the case of three high mortality earthquakes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4883, The World Bank.
  2. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Schady, Norbert, 2008. "Aggregate economic shocks, child schooling and child health," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4701, The World Bank.
  3. Lisa Cameron & Manisha Shah, 2013. "Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters," NBER Working Papers 19534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Guo Xu, 2011. "Long-Run Consequences of Natural Disasters: Evidence from Tangshan," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1117, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Burlando, Alfredo, 2014. "Transitory shocks and birth weights: Evidence from a blackout in Zanzibar," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 154-168.
  6. van den Berg, Marrit, 2010. "Household income strategies and natural disasters: Dynamic livelihoods in rural Nicaragua," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 592-602, January.
  7. Thiemo Fetzer & Oliver Pardo & Amar Shanghavi, 2013. "An Urban Legend?! Power Rationing, Fertility and its Effects on Mothers," CEP Discussion Papers dp1247, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Claus C Pörtner, 2010. "Natural Hazards and Child Health," Working Papers UWEC-2010-03, University of Washington, Department of Economics.

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