Political Violence, Drought and Child Malnutrition: Empirical Evidence from Andhra Pradesh, India

Year: 2014 HiCN Working Paper No. 173

We analyse the combined effect of political violence and adverse climatic shocks on child nutrition. Instrumental variable models using longitudinal data from Andhra Pradesh, India, yield two key results: (i) drought has an adverse effect on child nutrition in Andhra Pradesh only in violence-affected communities, and (ii) political violence has large negative effects on child nutrition through a reduction of the ability of households to cope with drought. FE-2SLS results are complemented by the use of a unique natural experiment created by a ceasefire in 2004. Results show that the eight months ceasefire period reversed the adverse effects of drought in communities previously affected by the conflict. Potential mechanisms explaining the strong joint welfare effect of conflict and drought are the failure of economic coping strategies in areas of violence and restricted access to public goods and services.