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Natural Hazards and Child Health

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Document pages: 40 pages

Abstract: This paper examines how the occurrence of natural disasters affect health status of children using data from Guatemala. Despite a large literature on child health there is relatively little work on how shocks from natural hazards affect the health of children. Using three rounds of DHS data combined with a long time series on the timing and location of weather shocks the paper estimates the impact of several types of natural disasters on child health, controlling for time and area fixed effects. Child health is proxied by height for age and weight for height and direct information on recent symptoms of illness. The effect of shocks from these hazards on the long-term health of children are negative and often very large; each shock reduces height for age by between 0.1 and 0.2 standard deviations. Indigenous children are affected more than non-indigenous children.

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