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Agricultural Fires and Infant Health

Marcos Rangel and Tom Vogl
Additional contact information
Marcos Rangel: Duke University and BREAD
Tom Vogl: Princeton University, BREAD, and NBER

Working Papers from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies.

Abstract: Fire has long served as a tool in agriculture, but this practice’s human capital consequences have proved difficult to study. Drawing on data from satellites, air monitors, and vital records, we study how smoke from sugarcane harvest fires affects infant health in the Brazilian state that produces one-fifth of the world’s sugarcane. Because fires track economic activity, we exploit wind for identification, finding that late-pregnancy exposure to upwind fires decreases birth weight, gestational length, and in utero survival, but not early neonatal survival. Other fires positively predict health, highlighting the importance of disentangling pollution from economic activities that drive it.

Keywords: Brazil (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I00 Q19 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
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