Civil War, Crop Failure, and the Health Status of Young Children

38 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2006

See all articles by Richard Akresh

Richard Akresh

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Philip Verwimp

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management; Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

Economic shocks at birth have lasting impacts on children's health several years after the shock. We calculate height for age z-scores for children under age five using data from a Rwandan nationally representative household survey conducted in 1992. We exploit district and time variation in crop failure and civil conflict to measure the impact of exogenous shocks that children experience at birth on their height several years later. We find that girls born after a shock in a region experiencing these events exhibit 0.72 standard deviations lower height for age z-scores and the impact is worse for poor households. There is no impact of these shocks on boys' health status. Results are robust to using household level production and rainfall shocks as alternative measures of crop failure. The analysis also contributes to the debate on the economic conditions prevailing on the eve of the Rwandan genocide.

Keywords: child health, economic shocks, civil war, rainfall shocks, Africa

JEL Classification: I12, J13, O12, O15

Suggested Citation

Akresh, Richard and Verwimp, Philip, Civil War, Crop Failure, and the Health Status of Young Children (October 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2359, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=939004

Richard Akresh (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Philip Verwimp

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management ( email )

19 Av Franklin Roosevelt
1050
Brussels
Belgium

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

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