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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. Clay, Daniel & Reardon, Thomas & Kangasniemi, Jaakko, 1998. "Sustainable Intensification in the Highland Tropics: Rwandan Farmers' Investments in Land Conservation and Soil Fertility," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 351-77, January.
  2. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp, 2008. "Poverty Dynamics, Violent Conflict and Convergence in Rwanda," Research Working Papers 4, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
  4. 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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  6. Sharon Maccini & Dean Yang, 2009. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1006-26, June.
  7. Elizabeth Frankenberg & James P. Smith & Duncan Thomas, 2003. "Economic Shocks, Wealth, and Welfare," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
  8. Thomas, D. & Lavy, V. & Strauss, J., 1995. "Public Policy and Anthropometric Outcomes in the Cote d'Ivoire," Papers 95-07, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  9. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  10. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Massimo Guidolin & Eliana La Ferrara, 2007. "Diamonds Are Forever, Wars Are Not: Is Conflict Bad for Private Firms?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1978-1993, December.
  13. Janet Currie & Rosemary Hyson, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," NBER Working Papers 6999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Yamauchi, Futoshi, 2006. "Early childhood nutrition, schooling, and sibling inequality in a dynamic context: evidence from South Africa," FCND briefs 203, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  15. John Bellows & Edward Miguel, 2006. "War and Institutions: New Evidence from Sierra Leone," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 394-399, May.
  16. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
  17. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  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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