Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Socioeconomic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall
45 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2006
Date Written: January 2006
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: Suggested Citation