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Fertility response to climate shocks

Author

Listed:
  • Sylvain Dessy

    (Université Laval)

  • Francesca Marchetta

    (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Roland Pongou

    () (uOttawa - University of Ottawa [Ottawa], Harvard University [Cambridge])

  • Luca Tiberti

    (Université Laval)

Abstract

In communities highly dependent on rainfed agriculture for their livelihoods, the common oc-currence of climatic shocks such as droughts can lower the opportunity cost of having children, and raise fertility. Using longitudinal household data from Madagascar, we estimate the causal effect of drought occurrences on fertility, and explore the nature of potential mechanisms driving this effect. We exploit exogenous within-district year-to-year variation in rainfall deficits, and find that droughts occurring during the agricultural season significantly increase the number of children born to women living in agrarian communities. This effect is long lasting, as it is not reversed within four years following the drought occurrence. Analyzing the mechanism, we find that droughts have no effect on common underlying factors of high fertility such as marriage timing and child mortality. Furthermore, droughts have no significant effect on fertility if they occur during the non-agricultural season or in non-agrarian communities, and their positive effect in agrarian communities is mitigated by irrigation. These findings provide evidence that a low opportunity cost of having children is the main channel driving the fertility effect of drought in agrarian communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvain Dessy & Francesca Marchetta & Roland Pongou & Luca Tiberti, 2019. "Fertility response to climate shocks," Working Papers halshs-02053100, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-02053100
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02053100
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Keywords

    Climatic shocks; Droughts; Agricultural season; Opportunity cost of children; Fertility; Irrigation;

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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