Growing Pains: Timing of In Utero Rainfall Shocks and Child Growth in Rural Rwanda
April 1, 2021 - Author: Jarrad Farris, Maria Porter, Songquin Jin, Mywish Maredia
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.
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.