Effects of Drought on Infant Mortality in China


This paper focuses on Guizhou Province, a region with difficult geographical conditions and poor economic development, to examine the effect of rainfall shocks on contemporaneous infant health and socioeconomic outcomes in China. The study results indicate that negative rainfall shocks are robustly correlated with higher infant mortality and lower birth weight. In the long run, early-life rainfall shortages limit an individual’s income and housing conditions. The study findings indicate a significant interaction of rainfall shock with the severity of water scarcity. This result implies that drinking water safety is an essential channel through which early-life rainfall shocks influence individual health endowments. However, agriculture production is not a likely channel for rainfall effects despite its association with infant mortality. Accordingly, our empirical results suggest that improving public facility coverage will reduce the vulnerability of infant health to adverse rainfall shocks in Guizhou and other developing areas.