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Income Shocks Reduce Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Five East European Countries

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  • P R W P
    5926
    Income Shocks Reduce Human Capital
    Investments
    Evidence from Five East European Countries
    Basab Dasgupta
    Mohamed Ihsan Ajwad
    e World Bank
    Europe and Central Asia Region
    Human Development Economics Unit
    December 2011
    WPS5926
    Public Disclosure AuthorizedPublic Disclosure AuthorizedPublic Disclosure AuthorizedPublic Disclosure Authorized
  • Produced by the Research Support Team
    Abstract
    e Policy Research Working Paper Series disseminates the ndings of work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development
    issues. An objective of the series is to get the ndings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. e papers carry the
    names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. e ndings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those
    of the authors. ey do not necessarily represent the views of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and
    its aliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.
    P R W P5926
    is paper empirically investigates whether households
    aected by income shocks cope by reducing human
    capital investments. e analysis uses Crisis Response
    Surveys conducted in Armenia, Bulgaria, Montenegro,
    Romania, and Turkey during 2009 and 2010. A
    propensity score matching technique is adopted to
    compare health and education investment decisions
    among households that were aected by income shocks
    to the matched comparison group. e authors nd that
    households aected by income shocks reduced some
    human capital investments. Interestingly, households
    in these ve countries were more likely to adopt health-
    related coping strategies as opposed to education-related
    coping strategies. e results from Armenia, Bulgaria,
    is paper is a product of the Human Development Economics Unit, Europe and Central Asia Region. It is part of a larger
    eort by the World Bank to provide open access to its research and make a contribution to development policy discussions
    around the world. Policy Research Working Papers are also posted on the Web at http://econ.worldbank.org. e authors
    may be contacted at bdasgupta@worldbank.org and majwad@worldbank.org.
    Montenegro, and Turkey show that households aected
    by income shocks reduced their visits to doctors and
    reduced their spending on medicine and medical care
    signicantly more than the matched comparison group.
    Households aected by income shocks reduced their
    education investments, but did not adopt harmful
    education-related coping strategies, such as withdrawing
    children from schools or moving children from costly
    private to cheaper public schools. ese ndings reveal
    that long-term and possibly intergenerational household
    welfare could be aected by short-run income shocks and
    hence underscore the need for governments to employ
    mitigation measures.
  • <okay sg>
    Income Shocks Reduce Human Capital Investments:
    Evidence from Five East European Countries
    Basab Dasgupta and Mohamed Ihsan Ajwad
    1
    Human Development, Europe and Central Asia
    The World Bank
    JEL Classification: I14, I15, I24, I25, J17, J63, P46
    Keywords: Income shocks, coping strategy, crisis, education, health.
    Sector Board: Social Protection (SOCPT)
    1
    The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the World Bank, its
    Executive Directors, or the countries they represent. Comments on Earlier Versions of the paper are also gratefully
    acknowledged from Mehtabul Azam, Sarojini Hirsleifer, Jesko Hentchel, Emil Tesliuc, Owen Smith, Lire Ersado,
    David Balan and David Mckenzie. For correspondence: bdasgupta@worldbank.org and majwad@worldbank.org.

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Income Shocks Reduce Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Five East European Countries

Income Shocks Reduce Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Five East European Countries This paper empirically investigates whether households affected by income shocks cope by reducing human capital investments. The analysis uses Crisis Response Surveys conducted in Armenia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, and Turkey during 2009 and 2010. A propensity score matching technique is adopted to compare health and education investment decisions among households that were affected by income shocks to the matched comparison group. The authors find that households affected by income shocks reduced some human capital investments. Interestingly, households in these five countries were more likely to adopt health-related coping strategies as opposed to education-related coping strategies. The results from Armenia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Turkey show that households affected by income shocks reduced their visits to doctors and reduced their spending on medicine and medical care significantly more than the matched comparison group. Households affected by income shocks reduced their education investments, but did not adopt harmful education-related coping strategies, such as withdrawing children from schools or moving children from costly private to cheaper public schools. These findings reveal that long-term and possibly intergenerational household welfare could be affected by short-run income shocks and hence underscore the need for governments to employ mitigation measures.

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