Fertility after natural disaster: Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua
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This investigation evaluates the effect of Hurricane Mitch on women’s reproductive outcomes throughout Nicaragua. This research aim is achieved by analyzing a unique Nicaraguan Living Standards Measurement Study panel dataset that tracks women’s fertility immediately before and at two time points after Hurricane Mitch, combined with satellite-derived municipality-level precipitation data for the 10-day storm period. Results show higher odds of post-disaster fertility in municipalities receiving higher precipitation levels in the immediate post-Hurricane Mitch period. However, fertility normalizes between disaster and non-disaster areas 4 to 6 years after the storm. These findings suggest that the disruptive effects of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Mitch can have an initial stimulative effect on fertility but that effect is ephemeral.