Deforestation, Malaria and Infant Mortality in Indonesia

45 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2018

See all articles by Averi Chakrabarti

Averi Chakrabarti

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

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

Chakrabarti, Averi, Deforestation, Malaria and Infant Mortality in Indonesia (September 29, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Averi Chakrabarti (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
United States

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