Weather shocks and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Developing World

Anthony Mveyange, World Bank

We use information on 1.3 million births from the Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) and combine it with monthly 0.5-degree geo-spatial weather data on temperature and rainfall to investigate the impacts of weather variability on infant survival in 51 developing countries between 1982 and 2014. Consistent with other research that documents the detrimental impacts of temperature shocks on survival, our results suggest that excess heat significantly affects the likelihood of infant survival. An increase in the average monthly temperature by one standard deviation, either in-utero or in the next 11 months after the month of birth, on average, increase the likelihood of death by 1.1 deaths per 1000 births for infants born in the first month of birth and by 3.5 deaths per 1000 births for infants in the next 11 months of life. Equally important, and not widely documented before, the influence of a temperature shock persists into later life periods by also elevating mortality up to one year after the shock. Important heterogeneity in this relation arises across climactic zones, with especially pronounced impacts in dry, arid, and humid zones. Further, there are larger effects for infant girls, in rural areas, and children from poor families. On precipitation, the results show that excess rainfall had no effects on infant death, except for a protective effect of up to 3 deaths per 1000 births in dry and humid zones. Overall, these results suggest that extreme weather, especially temperature, is indeed a formidable threat for infant health in much of the developing world and mitigation strategies need to be considered as the frequency of heat shocks are expected to increase in coming years.

About the speaker

Anthony Mveyange is an Economist in the World Bank's Development Research Group. Prior to joining the World Bank as a staff, Anthony has worked as a World Bank consultant since 2009. He was also a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Effective Global Action at the University of California, Berkeley and a consultant at the United Nations University - World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER). His main research interests include poverty and inequality; environment and natural resources; education; urban, rural, and social development; and fragility, conflict and violence.

Venue: Conference room (0.16 & 0.17)

Date: 14 September 2017

Time: 12:00 - 13:00