The Role of Weather on Schooling and Work of Young Adults in Madagascar

We examine the impact of rainfall variability and cyclones on schooling and work among a cohort of teens and young adults in Madagascar. We estimate a bivariate probit model using a panel survey conducted in 2004 and 2011 in this poor island nation, which is frequently affected by extreme weather events. Our results show that negative rainfall deviations and cyclones reduce the probability of attending school and encourage young men and, to a greater extent, women to enter the work force, and they reduce their French and math test scores. Less wealthy households are most likely to experience this school-to-work transition in the face of rainfall shocks. The finding is consistent with poorer households having less savings and more limited access to credit and insurance, which reduces their ability to cope with rainfall shortages. We also find that there are both contemporaneous and lagged effects of the weather shocks, and that they are of a similar magnitude. Our findings are robust to the use of a linear probability model, as well as a wide range of definitions of rainfall variations.