2017 Health and Social Protection Other

Plant Pests and Child Health: Evidence from Locust Infestations in West Africa

Evelina Linnros

For many households in developing economies climate shock, economic instability, illness and conflict are part of everyday life. Without access to formal insurance and credit markets, this means a limited ability to smooth out income fluctuations, which in turn can lead to serious welfare effects.

This dissertation examines the anthropometric effects among children due to exposure to desert locust infestations. Using household survey data from four West African countries combined with 30 years of locust infestation data, the study explore the variation in locust infestation exposure among children under age five, controlling for locality and mother fixed effects.

Main findings

  • The impact is larger among rural households.
  • The study found some indications that the impact is larger among girls, perhaps suggesting gender bias influencing allocation of resources in the household. However, the results are inconclusive as the estimated difference between boys and girls is not statistically significant.

Evelina Linnros, Master’s student, Department of Economics, Stockholm University