The Effects of Earthquakes on Infant Mortality Rates in Indonesia

Allison Stolte , Duke University
Claire Le Barbenchon, Duke University

In recent years, natural disasters have become more prevalent in the global community, making the understanding of their economic effects increasingly important. While some economists argue that natural disasters spur economic growth, others argue that the destruction of both human and physical capital hinders growth in the long run. This research tests the opposing perspectives through the specific study of the effects of earthquakes on infant mortality rates in Indonesian provinces from 1990-2010 (with plans to incorporate data through 2015), using infant mortality as an economic indicator. Using United States Geological Survey data on earthquake shocks in Indonesia combined with Indonesian Family Life Surveys (IFLS) data on infant mortality and maternal characteristics from 1990-2014, we find a curvilinear relationship between the magnitude of earthquakes in the year prior to conception and infant mortality risk.

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 Presented in Session 59. Causes of Neonatal, Infant, and Child Mortality