Research Group

Labor Demography

At a Glance Projects Publications Team


Environmental Determinants of Human Capital Accumulation

Joshua Wilde; in Collaboration with Benedicte Apouey (Paris School of Economics, France)

Detailed Description

Human capital, such as health and education, largely determines individual labor productivity, wages, overall life satisfaction, and socioeconomic status. In addition, environmental factors may disrupt the accumulation of human capital by reducing health and educational attainment, such as through malnutrition from increased food insecurity, schooling disruptions, or lower income and human capital investment. To gain a better understanding of the costs of climate change and other environmental processes, we explore in this project the relationship between environmental factors (such as malaria and other disease ecologies, heat waves, famine, floods, and other climate shocks) and short- and long-run health and educational outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. We also assess the impact of policies or programs aimed at mitigating potential negative environmental effects on human capital outcomes. Exploiting the rapid increase in bed net distribution in sub-Saharan Africa during the mid-2000s, we employ a difference-in-differences estimation strategy to identify the causal effects of bed nets on a variety of health and human capital outcomes such as mortality, stunting, anemia, fertility, literacy, and educational attainment. We also use high frequency data on deviations of weather patterns from long-run means to estimate the causal effects of climate change and adverse climatic events, such as heat waves, floods, droughts, on a similar set of human capital outcomes.

Research Keywords:

Economics, Employment, Retirement, Education and Science


De la Croix, D.; Docquier, F.; Fabre, A.; Stelter, R.:
IRES discussion papers 2019/19, Louvain-la-Neuve. (2019)    
Wilde, J.; Apouey, B.; Coleman, J.; Picone, G.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2019-019. (2019)    
Walke, R.; Ciganda, D.; Klüsener, S.:
MPIDR Technical Report TR-2018-005. (2018)
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.