Weather and Child Health in Rural Nigeria
The effect of weather shocks on children’s anthropometrics is investigated using the two most recent rounds of the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey. For this purpose, climate data for each survey cluster are interpolated using daily weather-station records from the national network. The findings reveal that rainfall shocks have a statistically significant and robust impact on child health in the short run for both weight-for-height and height-for-age, and the incidence of diarrhea. The impacts of weather shocks on health are of considerable magnitude; however, children seem to catch up with their cohort rapidly after experiencing a shock. The paper does not find any evidence of nonlinear impacts of weather variability on children’s health, suggesting that a moderate increase in future rainfall variability is not likely to bring additional health costs. Finally, it appears that the impact of these shocks is the same for young boys and girls, which suggests that there is no gender-based discrimination in the allocation of resources within households.
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