Gone with the Storm: Rainfall Shocks and Household Well-Being in Guatemala

39 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Javier Eduardo Baez

Javier Eduardo Baez

World Bank; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Leonardo Lucchetti

World Bank

Maria Eugenia Genoni

Duke University

Mateo Salazar

World Bank

Date Written: January 1, 2015

Abstract

This paper investigates the causal consequences of Tropical Storm Agatha (2010) -- the strongest tropical storm everto strike Guatemala since rainfall records have been kept -- on household welfare. The analysis reveals substantial negative effects, particularly among urban households. Per capita consumption fell by 12.6 percent, raising poverty by 5.5 percentage points (an increase of 18 percent). The negative effects of the shock span other areas of human welfare. Households cut back on food consumption (10 percent or 43 to 108 fewer calories per person per day) and reduced expenditures on basic durables. These effects are related to a drop in income per capita (10 percent), mostly among salaried workers. Adults coped with the shock by increasing their labor supply (on the intensive margin) and simultaneously relying on the labor supply of their children and withdrawing them from school. Impact heterogeneity is associated with the intensity of the shock, food price inflation, and the timing of Agatha with respect to the harvest cycle of the main crops. The results are robust to placebo treatments, household migration, issues of measurement error, and different samples. The negative effects of the storm partly explain the increase in poverty seen in urban Guatemala between 2006 and 2011, which national authorities and analysts previously attributed solely to the collateral effects of the global financial crisis.

Keywords: Climate Change and Environment, Climate Change and Health, Science of Climate Change, Inequality, Social Protections & Assistance

Suggested Citation

Baez, Javier Eduardo and Lucchetti, Leonardo and Genoni, Maria Eugenia and Salazar, Mateo, Gone with the Storm: Rainfall Shocks and Household Well-Being in Guatemala (January 1, 2015). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7177, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2579876

Javier Eduardo Baez (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Leonardo Lucchetti

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Maria Eugenia Genoni

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

HOME PAGE: http://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/Economics/phd/maria.genoni

Mateo Salazar

World Bank ( email )

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