DP9222 Weather and Infant Mortality in Africa

Author(s): Masayuki Kudamatsu, Torsten Persson, David Strömberg
Publication Date: November 2012
Keyword(s): climate change, maternal malaria, maternal malnutrition, natural experiments
JEL(s): I15, O13, O15, O55, Q54
Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9222

We estimate how random weather fluctuations affected infant mortality across 28 African countries in the past, combining high-resolution data from retrospective fertility surveys (DHS) and climate-model reanalysis (ERA-40). We find that infants were much more likely to die when exposed in utero to much longer malaria spells than normal in epidemic malaria regions, and to droughts in arid areas, especially when born in the hungry season. Based on these estimates, we predict aggregate infant deaths in Africa, due to extreme weather events and to maternal malaria in epidemic areas for 1981-2000 and 2081-2100.