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It’s Raining Babies? Flooding and Fertility Choices in Bangladesh

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  • Thiede, Brian C.

    (The Pennsylvania State University)

  • Chen, Joyce
  • Mueller, Valerie
  • Jia, Yuanyuan
  • Hultquist, Carolynne

Abstract

A growing demographic literature has examined the impacts of climatic variability on human populations. Most of this work has focused on migration, morbidity, and mortality. Much less attention has been given to the effects of climate change on fertility, which represents an important gap given many plausible reasons to expect such effects. We address this issue by examining the relationship between exposure to flooding and fertility in Bangladesh. We link birth records (n=355,532 person-years) from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) with satellite-derived measures of flooding from 2002 through 2014 and estimate statistical models of the relationship between flood exposure and subsequent fertility outcomes. We also conduct secondary analyses of the relationship between flood exposure and four expected causal pathways: women’s marriage, contraceptive use, employment, and health. Results suggest that flood exposure reduces the probability of childbearing, and that this effect operates with a two-year lag. Negative effects are concentrated among women with a primary school education or higher and low-parity women. In contrast, women at high parities (e.g., at or above four) tend to increase their fertility in response to flooding. We find little evidence that observed flooding effects operate through the causal pathways we test, raising questions for future research about the mechanisms that explain our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Thiede, Brian C. & Chen, Joyce & Mueller, Valerie & Jia, Yuanyuan & Hultquist, Carolynne, 2020. "It’s Raining Babies? Flooding and Fertility Choices in Bangladesh," SocArXiv cz482, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:cz482
    DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/cz482
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    References listed on IDEAS

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