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Civil war, crop failure, and child stunting in Rwanda

  • Akresh, Richard
  • Verwimp, Philip
  • Bundervoet, Tom

Economic shocks at birth have lasting effects on children's health several years after the shock. The authors calculate height for age z-scores for children under age five using data from a Rwandan nationally representative household survey conducted in 1992. They exploit district and time variation in crop failure and civil conflict to measure the impact of exogenous shocks that children experience at birth on their height several years later. They find that boys and girls born after the shock in regions experiencing civil conflict are both negatively affected with height for age z-scores 0.30 and 0.72 standard deviations lower, respectively. Conversely, only girls are negatively affected by crop failure, with these girls exhibiting 0.41 standard deviation lower height for age z-scores and the impact is worse for girls in poor households. Results are robust to using sibling difference estimators, household level production, and rainfall shocks as alternative measures of crop failure.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4208.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4208
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  1. Behrman, Jere R, 1988. "Intrahousehold Allocation of Nutrients in Rural India: Are Boys Favored? Do Parents Exhibit Inequality Aversion?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 32-54, March.
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  11. Clay, Daniel & Reardon, Thomas A. & Kangasniemi, Jaakko, 1995. "Sustainable Intensification in the Highland Tropics: Rwandan Farmers' Investments in Land Conservation and Soil Fertility," Staff Papers 201198, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
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  15. Philip Verwimp & Jan Van Bavel, 2004. "Child Survival and the Fertility of Refugees in Rwanda after the Genocide," PRUS Working Papers 26, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
  16. Yamauchi, Futoshi, 2006. "Early childhood nutrition, schooling, and sibling inequality in a dynamic context: evidence from South Africa," FCND discussion papers 203, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  18. Verwimp, Philip, 2005. "An economic profile of peasant perpetrators of genocide: Micro-level evidence from Rwanda," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 297-323, August.
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