Weather and infant mortality in Africa

  • Kudamatsu M
  • Persson T
  • Strömberg D
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To what extent have weather fluctuations in Africa affected in- fant mortality over the last fifty years? We investigate this question by combining individual level data, obtained from retrospective fertil- ity surveys (DHS) for nearly a million births in 28 African countries, with data for weather outcomes, obtained from re-analysis with cli- mate models (ERA-40). The focus is on two mechanisms: malaria and malnutrition. We find robust statistical evidence of quantita- tively significant effects. Infants born in areas with epidemic malaria that experience worse malarious conditions during the time in utero than the site-specific seasonal means face a higher risk of death, espe- cially when malaria shocks hit low-exposure geographical areas, or hit mothers in the first trimester of pregnancy. Infants born in arid areas who experience droughts when in utero face a higher risk of death, especially if born in the so-called hungry season just after the start of the rains. We also uncover heterogeneities in the infant moratility effects of growing season rainfall and drought shocks, depending on household occupation or education.

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  • Masayuki Kudamatsu

  • Torsten Persson

  • David Strömberg

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