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The effect of natural disaster on fertility, birth spacing, and child sex ratio: evidence from a major earthquake in India

Arindam Nandi (), Sumit Mazumdar () and Jere Behrman
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Arindam Nandi: University of Chicago

Journal of Population Economics, 2018, vol. 31, issue 1, No 9, 267-293

Abstract: Abstract Natural disasters can lead to significant changes in health, economic, and demographic outcomes. However, the demographic effects of earthquakes have been studied only to a limited degree. This paper examines the effect of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake on reproductive outcomes. This earthquake killed more than 20,000 people; injured 167,000; and caused massive losses to property and civic assets. Using data from two large-scale District-Level Household Surveys (2002–2004 and 2007–2008), we employ difference-in-difference and fixed-effect regression models to compare the outcomes across earthquake-affected districts and their neighboring districts during 5 years before and after the earthquake. We find that the earthquake led to significant rises in childbirth rates. It also reduced birth spacing among uneducated, tribal, and Muslim women, and the incidence of male births among rural women. We find considerable variation in the demographic effects of the earthquake across location, household socioeconomic status, and parental age and education.

Keywords: Gujarat; Earthquake; India; Fertility; Birth spacing; Sex ratio; Trivers-Willard hypothesis; J10; J11; J13; J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0659-7