Fertility Response to Climate Shocks

56 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2019

See all articles by Sylvain Dessy

Sylvain Dessy

Université Laval - Département d'Économique

Francesca Marchetta

Université d'Auvergne - Clermont 1 - Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Developpement International (CERDI)

Roland Pongou

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Luca Tiberti

Université Laval

Date Written: February 28, 2019

Abstract

In communities highly dependent on rain fed agriculture for their livelihoods, the common occurrence of climatic shocks such as droughts can lower the opportunity cost of having children, and raise fertility. Using longitudinal household data from Madagascar, we estimate the causal effect of drought occurrences on fertility, and explore the nature of potential mechanisms driving this effect. We exploit exogenous within-district year-to-year variation in rainfall deficits, and find that droughts occurring during the agricultural season significantly increase the number of children born to women living in agrarian communities. This effect is long lasting, as it is not reversed within four years following the drought occurrence. Analyzing the mechanism, we find that droughts have no effect on common underlying factors of high fertility such as marriage timing and child mortality. Furthermore, droughts have no significant effect on fertility if they occur during the non-agricultural season or in non-agrarian communities, and their positive effect in agrarian communities is mitigated by irrigation. These findings provide evidence that a low marginal price of having children is the main channel driving the fertility effect of drought in agrarian communities.

Keywords: Drought, Fertility, Agrarian Communities, Price of a marginal child

JEL Classification: C12, C13, C14, J12, J13, O12

Suggested Citation

Dessy, Sylvain and Marchetta, Francesca and Pongou, Roland and Tiberti, Luca, Fertility Response to Climate Shocks (February 28, 2019). Partnership for Economic Policy Working Paper No. 2019-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3344637 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3344637

Sylvain Dessy

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Francesca Marchetta

Université d'Auvergne - Clermont 1 - Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Developpement International (CERDI) ( email )

65 Boulevard Francois Mitterrand
63000 Clermont-Ferrand Cedex 1
France

Roland Pongou

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics ( email )

200 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

Luca Tiberti (Contact Author)

Université Laval ( email )

2214 Pavillon J-A. DeSeve
Quebec, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

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