Yang, Maccini explore long-term impact of early-life rainfall on Indonesian women

June 2, 2009

Indonesian women born into rural communities in rainy years grow taller, stay in school longer, and live in households with greater wealth than women born in years with lower rainfall, according to new research by the Ford School's Dean Yang and Sharon Maccini.

The study, "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," extends previous research on the long-run impact of extreme environmental conditions in the critical first year of life to focus on a common source of vulnerability in poorer agricultural economies: the weather.

The authors cite their findings as justification for social insurance, food security, and other public health programs that could compensate for resource shortages during years with poor rainfall. They point out that good nutrition and health investments for infant girls have a long reach into adulthood.

The findings appear in the June issue of the American Economic Review and were also featured in the Wall Street Journal blog, Real Time Economics.

[Read more about the study in the U-M News Services release]

[Read the WSJ blog posting]

[Read the study in the June edition of the American Economic Review]