Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MSIDEC)


College of Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Jesse Anttila-Hughes


In the United States alone, each tropical cyclone causes an average of $14.6 billion worth of damages. In addition to the destruction of physical infrastructure, natural disasters also negatively impact human capital formation. These losses are often more difficult to observe, and therefore, are over looked when quantifying the true costs of natural disasters. One particular effect is an increase in infant mortality rates, an important indicator of a country’s general socioeconomic level. This paper utilizes a model created by Anttila-Hughes and Hsiang, that takes advantage of annual variation in tropical cyclones using annual spatial average maximum wind speeds and Demographic and Health Surveys data, in order to find a causal relationship between infant mortality and tropical cyclones. The results show that there is a statistically significant increase in infant mortality with a lagged effect. This research topic is even more relevant given the evidence on climate change such as rising sea temperatures, which aggravates both the occurrence and severity of tropical cyclones.