Deforestation, Malaria and Infant Mortality in Indonesia
45 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2018
Date Written: September 29, 2018
Indonesia has experienced high levels of deforestation in recent years. In this paper, I investigate whether deforestation-induced malaria increases have led to higher infant mortality in the country. My empirical strategy exploits the pregnancy order-specific variation that exists in the risk of malaria — the disease is most likely to infect women during their first pregnancy and so adverse birth outcomes due to maternal malaria disproportionately affect firstborn children. I explore whether first born mortality changes differentially during deforestation relative to later born mortality. Results demonstrate that when mothers experience forest loss during pregnancy, firstborn children do indeed face a greater risk of infant mortality compared to other children. Apart from malaria, none of the factors that could change with declining forest cover (like air pollution) have such parity-specific effects. The findings thus point to malaria’s role in the resulting deaths.
Keywords: deforestation, malaria, infant mortality, Indonesia, health, environment
JEL Classification: I10, I18, J13, O13, Q23, Q57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation