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CentrePiece article
In brief...Blackout babies: the impact of power cuts on fertility
Thiemo Fetzer, Oliver Pardo and Amar Shanghavi
December 2013
Paper No' CEPCP403:
Full Paper (pdf)

CentrePiece 18 (2) Autumn 2013

JEL Classification: J13; J16; O18; H41

Tags: fertility; infrastructure; blackouts; unplanned parenthood

A rolling blackout in Colombia in the early 1990s led to a rise in unplanned births, according to research by Amar Shanghavi and colleagues. What’s more, young women who became mothers after the blackout had worse outcomes in later life. The impact of power outages on fertility is an important policy issue. For example, barriers of access to family planning may translate a temporary increase in fertility into a permanent increase in the population. In addition, if a woman is at a critical stage of life, say in her teens or early adulthood, having an unintended birth could damage her educational attainment, her career development and even her romantic relationships.

This article summarises ‘An Urban Legend?! Power Rationing, Fertility and its Effects on Mothers’ by Thiemo Fetzer, Oliver Pardo and Amar Shanghavi, CEP Discussion Paper No. 1247, November 2013