Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #376

Children at Risk: The Effect of Crop Loss on Child Health in Rural Mexico

by Maren M. Michaelsen and Songül Tolan

RUB, 10/2012, 27 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-431-0 DOI: 10.4419/86788431



This study investigates the effect of an economic shock due to crop loss on health outcomes of children in rural Mexico. Data from the Mexican Family Life Survey for the years 2002 and 2005 off er retrospective information on economic shocks since 1997 and height-for-age z-scores (HAZ) to measure long-term effects on child health. Since crop losses are exogenous to the children, simple OLS regressions are used to estimate the effect of crop loss overall and over time. Children who were hit by crop loss have on average 0.4 standard deviations smaller HAZ two and three years after the shock than other children. For boys and children aged 25 to 60 months being hit by crop loss also increases the probability of being stunted by 20 and 27 percentage points, respectively. The findings demonstrate that, albeit its large poverty reduction programs, Mexico has to invest more to combat poverty and provide mechanisms to help households to cope with sudden economic losses.

JEL-Classification: I15, J13, Q12

Keywords: Economic shock; crop loss; child health; Mexico