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Health Shocks and Natural Resource Management: Evidence from Western Kenya

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  • Joshua Graff Zivin
  • Maria Damon
  • Harsha Thirumurthy

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Graff Zivin & Maria Damon & Harsha Thirumurthy, 2010. "Health Shocks and Natural Resource Management: Evidence from Western Kenya," NBER Working Papers 16594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16594
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 311-335.
    2. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q27 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Issues in International Trade
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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