June 2024

IZA DP No. 17085: Posh Spice or Scary Spice? Resource Booms, Wealth, and Human Capital across Ages

Christopher Boone, Heidi Kaila, David E. Sahn

We examine the impact of a six-fold increase in the global vanilla price on smallholder vanilla-farming households in Madagascar. The price increase leads to sizable gains in household assets and significant improvements in adult psychological well-being, cognitive performance, and optimism about the economy. In contrast, we find no significant effects on children's health or schooling. Given substantial evidence from the literature that improvements in household economic resources can have large effects on children over the long run, the lack of shorterterm effects in this setting may reflect the time-varying nature of the impact or the need for additional complementary investments.