An Ill Wind that Blows No Girl Any Good': The Impacts of Climate-Induced Disease on Gender Inequality

Dr. Belinda Archibong, Barnard College

Despite notable investments in education, persistent gender gaps in educational attainment remain in developing countries. One potential explanation is that climateinduced disease events can limit the effectiveness of these investments in closing the gap. We investigate this hypothesis by examining the effects of sudden exposure to the 1986 meningitis epidemic in Niger on the gender gap in education. We document a significant reduction in years of education for school-aged girls relative to boys following the epidemic. We explore several channels underlying the results and find evidence highlighting income effects of epidemics on households and increased early marriage of girls.

About the speaker

Belinda Archibong is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University where she teaches courses on political economy and environmental economics. Her research areas include development economics, political economy, economic history and environmental economics with an African regional focus. Her research investigates the role of historical institutions and environment in inequality of access to public services (particularly infrastructure, education and measures of public health). Some current research studies the impact of climate-induced disease on the gender gap in human capital investment, and the impact of air pollution from gas flaring on health and cognitive development in children. Other work studies the role of prisons and domestic labor coercion in public infrastructure construction in British colonial Africa, the effects of taxation on public service provision and ethnic and gender bias in firm hiring. She is a faculty affiliate at Columbia University's Center for Development Economics and Policy (CDEP), The Earth Institute at Columbia University, the Institute of African Studies, the Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC) at Columbia University. She has received visiting fellowships at the World Bank in Washington, DC, the University of Lagos in Nigeria, and the University of Oxford in the UK.

Venue: 0.16/0.17

Date: 21 February 2019

Time: 12:00 - 13:00