Working paper

Ancient Plagues in Modern Times: The Impact of Desert Locust Invasions on Child Health

Bruno Conte, Lavinia Piemontese, and Augustin Tapsoba

Abstract

This paper estimates the causal impact on child health of a locust plague that occurred in Mali during the mid 2000s. Using a Difference-in-Differences strategy, we show that children who were exposed in utero to the plague suffer major health setbacks. Affected children have, on average, a height-for-age Z-score 0.33 points lower than non-exposed children. We argue that, in this type of agricultural economy, locust invasions could have an impact on child health mainly through two channels: first, a speculative/anticipatory price effect that kicks in during the plague itself, followed by local crop failures effect that would constitute an income shock for affected farmers and a local food supply shock for markets. We find that children exposed only to the speculative price effect in utero suffer as much as those exposed to the actual crop failure effect.

Keywords

Child Health; Plagues; Agricultural Shocks; Differences-in-Differences.;

JEL codes

  • I15: Health and Economic Development
  • O12: Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
  • Q12: Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
  • Q18: Agricultural Policy • Food Policy

Reference

Bruno Conte, Lavinia Piemontese, and Augustin Tapsoba, Ancient Plagues in Modern Times: The Impact of Desert Locust Invasions on Child Health, TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1069, January 2020.

See also

Published in

TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1069, January 2020