Long Run Impacts of Famine Exposure: A Study of the 1974 - 1975 Bangladesh Famine

Gisella Kagy, University of Colorado at Boulder

To further understand the relationship between early life health and adult health and economic outcomes, this paper analyzes the long-term effects of the 1974 - 1975 Bangladesh famine. I use an unbalanced individual level panel dataset for the years 1974 - 1996 for the Matlab region of Bangladesh to estimate the effect of this short but severe nutritional shock using both a cohort approach and a difference-in-difference approach. Results indicate early childhood exposure to acute malnutrition affects males and females differently. There is evidence of positive selection for males born during the famine, as they are 0.48 standard deviations taller, and obtain 1.89 more years of completed education on average in the presence of the famine. Boys in their early childhood years show evidence of being negatively influenced by the adverse health shock.

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Presented in Session 10: The Long-Term Impact of Famines and Environmental Shocks