The Effect of Natural Disaster on Fertility, Birth Spacing, and Child Sex Ratio: Evidence from a Major Earthquake in India

41 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2016 Last revised: 7 Nov 2017

See all articles by Arindam Nandi

Arindam Nandi

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP)

Sumit Mazumdar

Institute of Public Health, Kalyani

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 21, 2016

Abstract

Natural disasters can lead to significant changes in health, economic, and demographic outcomes. However, the demographic effects of earthquakes have been studied only to a limited degree. This paper examines the effect of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, which killed more than 20,000 people, injured 167,000, and caused massive losses to property and civic assets, on childbearing outcomes. Using data from two large-scale District Level Household Surveys (2002-2004 and 2007-2008), we employ difference-in-difference and fixed-effect regression models to compare the outcomes across earthquake-affected districts and their neighboring districts during five years before and after the earthquake. We find that the earthquake led to significant rises in childbirth probabilities and reductions in birth intervals. In rural areas, it reduced the likelihood of having a male child. We also find considerable variation in the demographic effects of the earthquake across location, household socioeconomic status, and parental age and education.

Keywords: India, fertility, birth spacing, sex ratio, Gujarat earthquake

JEL Classification: J13, J11, J16

Suggested Citation

Nandi, Arindam and Mazumdar, Sumit and Behrman, Jere R., The Effect of Natural Disaster on Fertility, Birth Spacing, and Child Sex Ratio: Evidence from a Major Earthquake in India (January 21, 2016). Nandi, A., Mazumdar, S. & Behrman, J.R. J Popul Econ 31: 267, 2018, DOI: org/10.1007/s00148-017-0659-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2719987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2719987

Arindam Nandi (Contact Author)

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) ( email )

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Sumit Mazumdar

Institute of Public Health, Kalyani ( email )

2nd Floor, NSS Sanatorium (TB Hospital)
Kalyani
Kalyani, West Bengal 741251
India
+919717181028 (Phone)
23358166 (Fax)

Jere R. Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

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