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Health Shocks and Natural Resource Management: Evidence from Western Kenya

  • Joshua Graff Zivin
  • Maria Damon
  • Harsha Thirumurthy

Poverty and altered planning horizons brought on by the HIV/AIDS epidemic can change individual discount rates, altering incentives to conserve natural resources. Using longitudinal data from household surveys in western Kenya, we estimate impacts of health status on labor productivity and discount rates. We find that household size and composition are predictors of whether the effect on productivity dominates the discount rate effect, or vice-versa. Since households with more and younger members are better able to reallocate labor to cope with productivity shocks, the discount rate impact dominates for these households and health improvements lead to greater levels of conservation. In smaller families with less substitutable labor, the productivity impact dominates and health improvements lead to greater environmental degradation.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16594.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16594.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Publication status: published as Damon, Maria & Zivin, Joshua Graff & Thirumurthy, Harsha, 2015. "Health shocks and natural resource management: Evidence from Western Kenya," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 36-52.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16594
Note: EEE HE
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  1. Harsha Thirumurthy & Joshua Graff Zivin & Markus Goldstein, 2008. "The Economic Impact of AIDS Treatment: Labor Supply in Western Kenya," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 511-552.
  2. Harsha Thirumurthy & Joshua Graff Zivin & Markus Goldstein, 2006. "The Economic Impact of AIDS Treatment: Labor Supply in Western Kenya," Working Papers 947, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  3. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
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