Growing Pains: Timing of In Utero Rainfall Shocks and Child Growth in Rural Rwanda

April 1, 2021 - Author: Jarrad Farris, Maria Porter, Songquin Jin,

Farris, J., Porter, M., Jin, S., & Maredia, M. (2021). Growing Pains: Timing of In Utero Rainfall Shocks and Child Growth in Rural Rwanda. Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Abstract

Families that rely on rain-fed agriculture are prone to rainfall shocks. We use a unique dataset of at-risk children in rural Rwanda to estimate the impact of rainfall shocks during a child's in utero period. We find that increases in in utero rainfall during the mid-season period increase child height-for-age z-scores; but increases in in utero rainfall in the harvest period lower these z-scores. In light of these period-specific effects, annual rainfall measures may attenuate estimates of child growth effects towards zero. We also find that intra-seasonal impacts of rainfall on child growth are particularly salient for households who do not report any off-farm income sources, and therefore rely solely on their own agricultural production for their livelihoods.


Authors

Songqing Jin

Songqing Jin
jins@msu.edu

Mywish Maredia

Mywish Maredia
maredia@msu.edu

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