Long-Run Impacts of the 1970-74 Series of Disasters in Bangladesh

Type Working Paper
Title Long-Run Impacts of the 1970-74 Series of Disasters in Bangladesh
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2548744
We use childhood exposure to the series of disasters from 1970 to 1974 in Bangladesh, the 1970 cyclone, the 1971 war and the 1974 famine, as a natural experiment inducing variations in the adulthood outcomes. Based on an overlapping generation model, we hypothesize that children from households with greater exposure to a disaster will have lower health, schooling and consumption outcomes in their adulthood. Using a unique national household level survey dataset from Bangladesh, we find mixed evidence of such adversities in the adulthood outcomes by regions and cohorts. However, adversities are accentuated among the females, poor and individuals with uneducated parents. We infer that instead of the childhood exposure to a disaster, gender, poverty and parental schooling are primarily responsible for most of the variations in health, schooling and consumption outcomes. From a policy perspective, our findings suggest that public initiatives aiming at benefiting the females and the poor, alongside the development of healthcare and schooling infrastructure, can be useful protective measures against the harms of a disaster.

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