Transitory Shocks and Birth Weights: Evidence from a Blackout in Zanzibar
36 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2012 Last revised: 28 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 27, 2013
Do transitory economic shocks affect neonatal outcomes? I show that an unexpected, month-long blackout in Tanzania caused a sharp but temporary drop in work hours and earnings for workers in electricity-dependent jobs. Using records from a maternity ward, I document a reduction in birth weights for children exposed in utero to the blackout, and an increase in the probability of low birth weight. The reduction is correlated with measures of maternal exposure to the blackout. The blackout also increased fertility for teenage and first time mothers, but selection into pregnancy cannot fully explain the drop in weights.
Keywords: Africa, Birth weights, Blackouts, Electricity, Fertility, Neonatal health, Transitory income
JEL Classification: O15, O14, J29, I12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation