Date of Graduation

Spring 5-16-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MSIDEC)



First Advisor

Jesse Anttila-Hughes


Do typhoons impact birth weights of infants exposed to a typhoon while in utero? This research exploits the exogeneity and randomness of typhoons in the Philippines to estimate the impact of typhoon exposure as determined by wind speed on birth weights. Using four waves of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from the Philippines combined with temperature, precipitation, and rainfall data from the Philippines, I can empirically estimate the impact of a 1 m/s increase in wind speed on birth weights. I find that for certain subgroups of the population, specifically children born to mothers with primary education or less, typhoon exposure in the year of birth and more specifically the quarter of birth, has a negative and statistically significant effect on birth weights. Since birth weights are common indicators of overall infant health as well as predictors of later life outcomes, these findings are important for policymakers. Policy implications of this study include shifting the focus of campaigns directed to focus on the importance of health and nutrition in the later stages of pregnancy, and also focusing on the needs of pregnant women in post-typhoon aid and relief efforts.