This project has two parts: it will examine the long-term health impacts of being born in a drought and it will investigate how the integration of markets mitigate the effects of being born into a resource-poor environment. The context for the analysis is South Africa, a country that experiences recurrent drought and which, at various points in time, restricted mobility of individuals within the country. I will use new data from a new national household survey matched to geographic information on weather from the 1930s to the 2000s and combine this with information on critical periods in apartheid history that segment the country into more and less market-integrated periods. The hypothesis to be tested is that in periods where individual movement was less restricted, the health impacts of drought are mitigated.
This study will contribute to what we know about the long-term consequences of Africa's most prevalent natural disaster: drought; and on how integrated labor markets and freedom of movement may mitigate these effects. The project will provide empirical evidence on the effects of being born in a resource-constrained time on the objective and self-reported health status of black South Africans; during periods when their freedom of movement was more or less restricted by the previous government under apartheid. The findings of this research will be relevant to policy-makers who deal with the immediate and longer-run effects of recurrent drought in sub-Saharan Africa.