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Child health and the 1988-92 economic crisis in Peru

  • Paxson, Christina
  • Schady, Norbert

The effect of economic crises on child health is a topic of great policy importance. The authors use data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) to analyze the impact of the profound 1988-92 economic crisis in Peru on infant mortality and anthropometrics. They show that there was an increase in the infant mortality rate of about 2.5 percentage points for children born in late 1989 and 1990, implying that about 17,000 more children died than would have in the absence of the crisis. The authors also present suggestive evidence that the crisis affected children's nutritional status. In 1992 children under the age of 6 who had been exposed to the crisis were shorter than same-aged children in 1996 and 2000. The authors do not have data on child height prior to the crisis, but the age profile of changes in nutritional status and the fact that the 1996 and 2000 height-for-age schedules are very similar to each other both suggest that the 1992 values represent declines from previous levels. Accounting for the precise source of the increase in infant mortality and in malnutrition is difficult, but it appears that both the decrease in household incomes and the collapse in expenditures on public health played an important role.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3260.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3260
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  1. Frankenberg, E. & Thomas, D. & Beegle, K., 1999. "The Real Costs of Indonesia's Economic Crisis: Preliminary Findings from the Indonesia Family Life Surveys," Papers 99-04, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2004. "Long Term Consequences Of Early Childhood Malnutrition," HiCN Working Papers 09, Households in Conflict Network.
  4. Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2003. "The Timing of Births: Is the Health of Infants Counter-Cyclical?," NBER Working Papers 10122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," NBER Working Papers 8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Stifel, David & Alderman, Harold, 2003. "The"Glass of Milk"subsidy program and malnutrition in Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3089, The World Bank.
  7. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1997. "Health and wages: Evidence on men and women in urban Brazil," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 159-185, March.
  8. Robert William Fogel, 1993. "New Sources and New Techniques for the Study of Secular Trends in Nutritional Status, Health, Mortality, and the Process of Aging," NBER Historical Working Papers 0026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Anne Case, 2001. "Does Money Protect Health Status? Evidence from South African Pensions," Working Papers 268, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  10. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
  11. Foster, Andrew D, 1995. "Prices, Credit Markets and Child Growth in Low-Income Rural Areas," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 551-70, May.
  12. Tapinos, G. & Mason, A. & Bravo, J. (ed.), 1997. "Demographic Responses to Economic Adjustment in Latin America," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292104, March.
  13. Cameron, Lisa A., 2002. "The impact of the Indonesian financial crisis on children : data from 100 villages survey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2799, The World Bank.
  14. Robert Jensen, 2000. "Agricultural Volatility and Investments in Children," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 399-404, May.
  15. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Child Health and Household Resources in South Africa: Evidence from the Old Age Pension Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 393-398, May.
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