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Natural disasters, self-Insurance, and human capital investment: Evidence from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Malawi

  • Yamauchi, Futoshi
  • Yohannes, Yisehac
  • Quisumbing, Agnes R.

"This paper uses panel data from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Malawi to examine the impacts of disasters on dynamic human capital production. Our empirical results show that accumulation of biological human capital prior to a disaster helps children maintain investments during the post-disaster period. Biological human capital formed in early childhood (for example, good long-term nutritional status) helps insure resilience to disasters by protecting schooling investments and outcomes, even though disasters have negative impacts on the actual investments (for example, by destroying schools). In Bangladesh, children with more biological human capital are less adversely affected by flood, and the rate of investment increases with the initial human capital stock during the post-disaster recovery process. In Ethiopia and Malawi, where droughts are relatively frequent, repeated drought exposure reduces schooling investments in some cases, with larger negative impacts seen among children who embody less biological human capital. Asset holdings prior to disaster (especially intellectual human capital stock in the household) also help maintain schooling investments to at least the same degree as the stock of human capital accumulated in the children prior to the disaster. Our results suggest that as the frequency of natural disasters increases due to global warming, the insurance value of investments in child nutrition will increase. Public investments in child nutrition therefore have the potential to effectively protect long-term human capital formation among children who are vulnerable to natural disasters." from authors' abstract

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 881.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:881
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  1. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2004. "Long Term Consequences Of Early Childhood Malnutrition," HiCN Working Papers 09, Households in Conflict Network.
  2. del Ninno, Carlo & Lundberg, Mattias, 2005. "Treading water: The long-term impact of the 1998 flood on nutrition in Bangladesh," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 67-96, March.
  3. Noy, Ilan, 2009. "The macroeconomic consequences of disasters," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 221-231, March.
  4. Yamauchi, Futoshi, 2006. "Early childhood nutrition, schooling, and sibling inequality in a dynamic context: evidence from South Africa," FCND briefs 203, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. del Ninno, Carlo & Dorosh, Paul A. & Smith, Lisa C. & Roy, Dilip K., 2001. "The 1998 floods in Bangladesh: disaster impacts, household coping strategies, and responses," Research reports 122, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Pitt, Mark M & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Estimating the Intrahousehold Incidence of Illness: Child Health and Gender-Inequality in the Allocation of Time," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(4), pages 969-80, November.
  7. Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2001. " Child Growth in the Time of Drought," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(4), pages 409-36, September.
  8. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  9. Behrman, Jere R. & Murphy, Alexis & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Yount, Kathryn, 2009. "Are returns to mothers' human capital realized in the next generation?: The impact of mothers' intellectual human capital and long-run nutritional status on children's human capital in Guatemala," IFPRI discussion papers 850, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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