IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Disease and Gender Gaps in Human Capital Investment: Evidence from Niger's 1986 Meningitis Epidemic


  • Belinda Archibong
  • Francis Annan


This paper examines whether disease burdens, especially prevalent in the tropics, contribute significantly to widening gender gaps in educational attainment. We estimate the impact of sudden exposure to the 1986 meningitis epidemic in Niger on girls' education relative to boys. Our results suggest that increases in meningitis cases during epidemic years significantly reduce years of education disproportionately for primary school-aged going girls in areas with higher meningitis exposure. There is no significant effect for boys in the same cohort and no effects of meningitis exposure for non-epidemic years. Our findings have broader implications for climate-induced disease effects on social inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Belinda Archibong & Francis Annan, 2017. "Disease and Gender Gaps in Human Capital Investment: Evidence from Niger's 1986 Meningitis Epidemic," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 530-535, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:530-35
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171142

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kai Barron & Luis F. Gamboa & Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes, 2019. "Behavioural Response to a Sudden Health Risk: Dengue and Educational Outcomes in Colombia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(4), pages 620-644, April.
    2. Junhong Chu & Yige Duan & Xianling Yang & Li Wang, 2021. "The Last Mile Matters: Impact of Dockless Bike Sharing on Subway Housing Price Premium," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(1), pages 297-316, January.
    3. Archibong, Belinda & Annan, Francis & Ekhator-Mobayode, Uche, 2023. "The epidemic effect: Epidemics, institutions and human capital development," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 211(C), pages 549-566.
    4. Archibong, Belinda & Annan, Francis & Ekhator-Mobayode, Uche, 2020. "The role of global governance institutions in mitigating the adverse economic impacts of epidemics," PEGNet Policy Briefs 22/2020, PEGNet - Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    5. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Prashant Bharadwaj & James Fenske & Anant Nyshadham & Richard Stanley, 2016. "Dust and Death: Evidence from the West African Harmattan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Fang, Guanfu & Li, Wei & Zhu, Ying, 2022. "The shadow of the epidemic: Long-term impacts of meningitis exposure on risk preference and behaviors," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    7. Ying Zhao & Lin Zhang & Yuanping Lu & Bo Wen, 2023. "More Rights but Less Gains: Relaxed Birth Control Policy and the Loss for Women," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 31(2), pages 159-191, March.
    8. He, Ke & Wang, Yujie & Zhang, Junbiao & Wang, Qingbin, 2022. "Out of the shadows: Impact of SARS experience on Chinese netizens' willingness to donate for COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:530-35. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.