Short Term Health Shocks and School Attendance: The Case of a Dengue Fever Outbreak in Colombia

Produced by: 
Universidad del Rosario
Available from: 
March 2015
Paper author(s): 
Kai Barron (PhD Student at UCL)
Luis F. Gamboa (Universidad del Rosario)
Paul Rodriguez-Lesmes (PhD Student at UCL)
Topic: 
Education - Health
Year: 
2015

This paper makes use of a short, sharp, unexpected health shock in the form of the 2010 Colombian Dengue outbreak to examine the direct and indirect impact of negative health shocks on behaviour of households in affected areas. Our analysis combines data from several sources in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the influence of the outbreak, and furthermore to understand the underlying mechanisms driving the effects. Our initial analysis indicates that the outbreak had a substantial negative effect on the health status of adults and adversely affected their ability to function as usual in their daily lives. In our aggregated school data, in areas with high levels of haemorrhagic Dengue we observe a reduction in national exam attendance (last year of secondary school) and on enrolment rates in primary education. Further analysis aims to exploit detailed individual level data to gain a more in depth understanding of the precise channels through which this disease influenced the behaviour and outcomes of the poor in Colombia.

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