NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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James Fenske

Department of Economics
University of Warwick
Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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Institutional Affiliation: University of Warwick

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2019Dust and Death: Evidence from the West African Harmattan
with Achyuta Adhvaryu, Prashant Bharadwaj, Anant Nyshadham, Richard Stanley: w25937
Using two decades of data from twelve low-income countries in West Africa, we show that dust carried by harmattan trade winds increases infant and child mortality. Health investments respond to dust exposure, consistent with compensating behaviors. Despite these efforts, surviving children still exhibit negative health impacts. Our data allow us to investigate differential impacts over time and across countries. We find declining impacts over time, suggesting adaptation. Using national-level measures of macroeconomic conditions and health resources, we find suggestive evidence that both economic development and public health improvements have contributed to this adaptation, with health improvements playing a larger role.
 
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