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Civil War, Crop Failure, and Child Stunting in Rwanda

  • Richard Akresh
  • Philip Verwimp
  • Tom Bundervoet

We combine Rwandan household survey data with event data on the timing and location of localized crop failure and armed conflict to examine the impact of these distinct shocks on children’s health status. The identification strategy exploits exogenous variation in the shocks’ geographic extent and the exposure of children’s birth cohorts to the shock. We find that in poor and nonpoor households, boys and girls born during the conflict in regions experiencing fighting are negatively affected, with height-for-age z-scores 1.05 standard deviations lower. Conversely, only girls are negatively affected by crop failure, with these girls exhibiting 0.86 standard deviations lower height-for-age z-scores, and the impact is worse for girls in poor households. Results are robust to using alternative shock exposure measures, different geographic boundary definitions for the affected regions, and household-level production and rainfall shocks as alternative measures of crop failure.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/660003
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/660003
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 59 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 777 - 810

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/660003
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