Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 433–472 | Cite as

The impact of extreme weather events on education

  • Valeria Groppo
  • Kati KraehnertEmail author
Original Paper


This paper provides new evidence on the long- and medium-term impact of extreme weather events on education. Our focus is on Mongolia, where two extremely severe winters caused mass livestock mortality. We use household panel data with information on households’ preshock location, combined with historic district-level livestock census data and climate data. Our econometric strategy exploits exogenous variation in shock intensity across space and time, using a difference-in-differences approach. Results indicate that individuals who experience the shock while of schooling age and living in severely affected districts are significantly less likely to complete mandatory education, both in the long and medium terms. The effects are driven by individuals from herding households, while no significant effects are found for individuals from nonherding households. This finding renders it unlikely that extreme winters affect education through school closures during extreme climatic conditions, to which all children were exposed. Moreover, there is no evidence for a differential impact of extreme weather events by gender. This suggests that the effects are not mainly channeled through increased child labor in herding but rather they are related to reductions in household income.


Children Education Extreme weather events Mongolia 

JEL Classification

I25 Q54 O12 



We gratefully acknowledge the helpful suggestions and guidance of three anonymous reviewers. We also thank Veronika Bertram-Hümmer, Adam Lederer, and Francesco Pastore for helpful comments. Bayarkhuu Chinzorigt, Jan Eberle, Maximilian Huppertz, Carlotta Nani, Johannes Matzat, and Ramona Schachner provided excellent research assistance. The paper also benefited from comments received at the NCDE 2015 in Copenhagen, the EEA 2015 in Mannheim, the 2015 Annual Conference of Verein für Socialpolitik (VfS) in Münster, the 2015 Annual Conference of the VfS Research Group on Development Economics in Kiel, and a workshop at DIW Berlin. We are grateful to our Mongolian partner, the National Statistical Office of Mongolia, for the fruitful cooperation in collecting household survey data. The responsibility for the content of this paper lies solely with the authors.

Compliance with ethical standards


The research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, funding line Economics of Climate Change, research grant 01LA1126A.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)BerlinGermany

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