Abstract

Endogeneity between health and wealth presents a challenge for estimating causal effects of health shocks. Using a quasi-experimental design, comprising exogenous shocks sustained as bus accident injuries in India, with controls drawn from travelers on the same bus routes one year later, I present new evidence of causal effects on consumption and debt. Using primary household survey data, I find that households faced with shock-related expenditures are able to smooth consumption on food, housing, and festivals, with small reductions in educational spending. Debt was the principal mitigating mechanism households used, leading to significantly larger levels of indebtedness.

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