Gone with the Wind: The Welfare Effect of Desert Locust Outbreaks

Myriam Marending, Stefano Tripodi

Publikation: Working paperForskning

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Desert locust outbreaks and other pests pose a significant threat to food security for millions of people. In this paper we quantify the size of the productivity and welfare loss caused by a desert locust outbreak that hit Ethiopia in 2014. We identify the causal effect of locust swarms on agricultural output and children’s nutritional status by modelling swarms’ movements based on wind speed and direction to identify areas in which they likely land (affected areas). We corroborate our finding by using a “recentered” measure of exposure to swarms that removes the bias due to non random exposure. We find that agricultural output is about 10-11% lower in areas hit by the shock compared to areas that are not affected. On average, children nutritional status is not negatively impacted by the shock, but each additional swarm affecting an enumeration area decreases BMI and weight-for-height z-scores by about 0.03 standard deviations, compared to children living in non affected areas.
UdgiverDepartment of Economics. Copenhagen Business School
Antal sider40
StatusUdgivet - 2022
NavnWorking Paper / Department of Economics. Copenhagen Business School


  • Agricultural shocks
  • Desert locust swarms
  • Food security
  • Ethiopia
  • Child health