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The Intergenerational Impact of Terror: Does the 9/11 Tragedy Reverberate into the Outcomes of the Next Generation?

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  • Ryan Brown

    ()
    (Duke University)

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    Abstract

    A medical literature that provides biological pathways from maternal stress to adverse birth outcomes, coupled with a growing consensus that birth characteristics are predictive of later life wellbeing, suggest that events that cause psychological trauma during pregnancy may have dire consequences for the next generation. Due to the unexpected nature of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 a random cohort of in utero children where exogenously insulted by increased maternal psychological distress. The goal of this study is to rigorously examine the casual effect of acute maternal stress on birth outcomes. To explore this question, it is imperative to avoid two identification pitfalls common in natural experiment studies of this topic: non-stress related negative externalities and post-event endogenous fertility selection. With these issues in mind, this analysis excludes those individuals most at risk of health and resource shocks unrelated to stress, New York City and Washington D.C. residents, and does not rely on the endogenously selected post-event birth cohorts. Results suggest that children exposed while in utero were born significantly smaller and earlier than previous cohorts. The timing of the effect provides evidence that intrauterine growth is specifically restricted by first trimester exposure to stress, while gestational age is most reduced by increased maternal psychological distress in mid pregnancy.

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    File URL: http://www.hicn.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HiCN-WP-165.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Households in Conflict Network in its series HiCN Working Papers with number 165.

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    Length: 48 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:165

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    Web page: http://www.hicn.org

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    1. Gary S. Becker & Yona Rubinstein, 2011. "Fear and the Response to Terrorism: An Economic Analysis," CEP Discussion Papers dp1079, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2006. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," CEE Discussion Papers 0061, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    4. Jason Bram & James Orr & Carol Rapaport, 2002. "Measuring the effects of the September 11 attack on New York City," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Nov, pages 5-20.
    5. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner & Cordelia Reimers, 2007. "Labor Market Effects of September 11th on Arab and Muslim Residents of the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
    6. Adriana Camacho, 2008. "Stress and Birth Weight: Evidence from Terrorist Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 511-15, May.
    7. Evans, Richard W. & Hu, Yingyao & Zhao, Zhong, 2007. "The Fertility Effect of Catastrophe: U.S. Hurricane Births," IZA Discussion Papers 2975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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