Taking Cover: Human Capital Accumulation in the Presence of Shocks and Health Insurance

Using the expansion of a large-scale health-insurance program in Mexico and variation in local rainfall levels, this study explores whether the program-induced increase in healthcare coverage protected the cognitive attainment of primary school children in the event of adverse rainfall shocks. Results show that the universalization of healthcare mitigated the negative effect of atypical rainfall on test scores, particularly in more marginalized and rural areas. An analysis of the mechanisms at play shows a reduced incidence of sickness among children, lower demand for their time, and higher stability in household consumption among program-eligible families exposed to rainfall shocks.