Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Socioeconomic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall

45 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2006

See all articles by Sharon Maccini

Sharon Maccini

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Dean Yang

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2006

Abstract

How sensitive is long-run individual well-being to environmental conditions early in life? This paper examines the effect of weather conditions around the time of birth on the health, education, and socioeconomic outcomes of Indonesian adults born between 1953 and 1974. We link historical rainfall for each individual's birth year and birth location with current adult outcomes from the 2000 wave of the Indonesia Family Life Survey. Higher early-life rainfall has large positive effects on the adult outcomes of women, but not of men. Women with 20% higher rainfall in their year and location of birth attain 0.14 centimeters greater height, finish 0.15 more years of schooling, live in households with 5.2% higher expenditures per capita, and have spouses with 5.1% higher earnings. These patterns most plausibly reflect a positive impact of rainfall on agricultural output, leading to higher household incomes and better health for infant girls. We present suggestive evidence that eventual benefits for adult women's socioeconomic status are mediated by improved schooling attainment, which leads to higher spousal quality, which in turn improves socioeconomic status. Adult women's education and health do not appear to have direct effects on their socioeconomic status apart from indirect effects via spousal quality.

Keywords: health, human capital, education, schooling, climate, Indonesia

JEL Classification: I12, I21, J13, O12, O15, Q54

Suggested Citation

Maccini, Sharon and Yang, Dean, Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Socioeconomic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall (January 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=885327 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.885327

Sharon Maccini

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

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Dean Yang (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.umich.edu/~deanyang/

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University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics

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