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The legacy of natural disasters: The intergenerational impact of 100 years of disasters in Latin America

German Caruso ()

Journal of Development Economics, 2017, vol. 127, issue C, 209-233

Abstract: Disasters can have long lasting effects, but understanding the breadth, variety and longevity of their effects can be challenging. This paper examines the long term effects and subsequent intergenerational transmission of exposure in childhood to the natural disasters that have occurred in Latin America in the last 100 years. The identification strategy exploits the exogenous variation in geographic location, timing and exposure of different birth cohorts to natural disasters. This study measures individuals' exposure to each disaster based on their geographic location at birth to avoid any bias in the estimates due to possible selective migration caused by each disaster. The main results indicate that children in utero and young children are the most vulnerable to natural disasters and suffer the most long-lasting negative effects. These effects include less human capital accumulation, worse health and fewer assets when they are adults. Effects are found to have a non-linear relationship with the level of development of each country. Furthermore, the results provide evidence of the intergenerational transmission of shocks, indicating that children born to mothers who had been exposed to natural disasters also have less education and increased child labor.

Keywords: Long term effects; Intergenerational transmission; Natural disasters (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 I00 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:209-233