IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ore/uoecwp/2010-1.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Transitory Income on Birth Weights: Evidence from a Blackout in Zanzibar

Author

Listed:
  • Alfredo Burlando

    () (University of Oregon Economics Department)

Abstract

Do transitory income shocks affect infant health? I find evidence that birth weights fell following a temporary income reduction caused by an unexpected, month-long blackout in Zanzibar. Relying on 350 household surveys collected during field work, I show that the 2008 blackout reduced labor supply of workers in electricity-dependent jobs by an average of 25%, with no effect on workers in other sectors. The income shock was temporary. Using over 20,000 birth records from a maternity ward, I document a reduction in the average birth weight of children exposed to the blackout while in utero, and an increase in the probability of low birth weight. Supporting a causal interpretation of these results, the reduction in weights is correlated with measures of maternal exposure to the blackout. In particular, reductions in birth weights were largest among children from wards with intermediate levels of employment in electrified sectors. The two causes that are most consistent with these results are a blackout-induced decline in maternal nutrition, and maternal stress. Alternative explanations are examined, including the possible effects of a temporary fertility shift. It is shown that the blackout increased births, but that selection into pregnancy cannot explain the drop in birth weights.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfredo Burlando, 2010. "The Impact of Transitory Income on Birth Weights: Evidence from a Blackout in Zanzibar," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2010-1, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ore:uoecwp:2010-1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://economics.uoregon.edu/papers/UO-2010-1_Burlando_Blackout.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2012. "Austerity Measures and Infant Health. Lessons from an Unexpected Wage Cut Policy," Working Paper Series 2012:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics, revised 10 Oct 2013.
    2. Kohlin, Gunnar & Sills, Erin O. & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. & Wilfong, Christopher, 2011. "Energy, gender and development: what are the linkages ? where is the evidence ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5800, The World Bank.
    3. Gerard, Francois, 2013. "What Changes Energy Consumption, and for How Long? New Evidence from the 2001 Brazilian Electricity Crisis," Discussion Papers dp-13-06, Resources For the Future.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Neonatal health; Birthweights; Nutrition; Fertility; Transitory income; Blackouts; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • J29 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Other
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ore:uoecwp:2010-1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bill Harbaugh). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deuorus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.