Negative Economic Shocks at Birth on Infant Health in Sub-Saharan Africa

Fabrice Kampfen , University of Lausanne, Switzerland

In this study, we estimate the causal effects of negative economic shocks experienced by mother while pregnant or shortly after birth on infant's subjective and objective health measures in Malawi, a Sub-Saharan African country that is particularly prone to economic shocks. We find that those children were about 7% points less likely to be in excellent health and 8% points less likely to be in much better health compared to children of the same age and sex in the same village. They were also about 300 grams lighter and 0.3 cm shorter than others, although this latter effect fails to be precisely estimated. These results are robust to various econometric specifications and sample selections. In addition, we propose a simple model to account for the fact that economic shocks are self-reported and show that our results hold under reasonable rates of false positive and false negative reports.

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 Presented in Session 36. Early-Life Environmental and Economic Exposures: Impact on Demographic and Health Outcomes in India and Sub-Saharan Africa