Migration and child development during the food price crisis in El Salvador
Migration is often used as parts of both ex post and ex ante strategies to mitigate risks to household incomes. There is little empirical evidence, however, of the way that migration actually helps households in times of shocks. In this paper, I describe how the peak of the worldwide food price crisis affected anthropometric statistics among young children in El Salvador, and how households with access to international migrants were not affected as negatively as households without such access. In 2008, El Salvador experienced food price inflation of 15%, and the evaluation of Red Solidaria, El Salvador's conditional cash transfer program, shows that height-for-age (HAZ) Z scores among children under 3 years old declined by 0.2 standard deviations on average. In this paper, I use the Red Solidaria evaluation data to assess whether children in households with access to remittances or international migrants were better off than households without access to migration income. Using both repeated cross-sectional data and individual panel data, I find that as theory would expect, children in households with access to international migrants have much lower declines in their HAZ scores.
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