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Children of War: The Long-Run Effects of Large-Scale Physical Destruction and Warfare on Children

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  • Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel

    ()
    (Dalhousie University)

Abstract

During World War II, more than half a million tons of bombs were dropped in aerial raids on German cities, destroying about one-third of the total housing stock. This paper provides causal evidence on long-term consequences of large-scale physical destruction on the educational attainment, health status and labor market outcomes of German children. I combine a unique dataset on city-level destruction in Germany caused by Allied Air Forces bombing during WWII with individual survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). My identification strategy exploits the plausibly exogenous city-by-cohort variation in the intensity of WWII destruction as a unique quasi-experiment. My findings are as follows: First, these children had 0.4 fewer years of schooling on average in adulthood, with those in the most hard-hit cities completing 1.2 fewer years. Second, these children were about one centimeter shorter and had lower self-reported health satisfaction in adulthood. Third, their future labor market earnings decreased by 6% on average due to exposure to wartime physical destruction. These results survive using alternative samples and specifications, including controlling for migration. Moreover, a control experiment using older cohorts who were not school-aged during WWII reveals no significant city-specific cohort trends in schooling. An important channel for the effect of destruction on educational attainment appears to be the destruction of schools and the absence of teachers, whereas malnutrition and destruction of health facilities during WWII seems to be important for the estimated impact on health.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Households in Conflict Network in its series HiCN Working Papers with number 62.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:62

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Related research

Keywords: physical destruction; human capital formation; children; armed conflict;

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References

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  1. Richard Akresh & Damien de Walque, 2008. "Armed Conflict and Schooling: Evidence from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide," HiCN Working Papers 47, Households in Conflict Network.
  2. Shemyakina, Olga, 2011. "The effect of armed conflict on accumulation of schooling: Results from Tajikistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 186-200, July.
  3. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Timothy M. Watts, 2007. "Long Run Health Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France," NBER Working Papers 12895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Meng, Xin & Qian, Nancy, 2006. "The Long Run Health and Economic Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from China’s Great Famine," IZA Discussion Papers 2471, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Rainer, Helmut & Siedler, Thomas, 2009. "O brother, where art thou? The effects of having a sibling on geographic mobility and labour market outcomes," Munich Reprints in Economics 19784, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Edward Miguel & Gerard Roland, 2006. "The Long Run Impact of Bombing Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 11954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & Schramm, Marc, 2002. "The strategic bombing of German cities during World War II and its impact on city growth," Research Report 03C03, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  8. Paul Frijters & John Haisken-DeNew & Michael Shields, 2005. "Socio-Economic Status, Health Shocks, Life Satisfaction and Mortality: Evidence from an Increasing Mixed Proportional Hazard Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 496, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  9. Bundervoet, Tom & Verwimp, Philip & Akresh, Richard, 2007. "Health and Civil War in Rural Burundi," IZA Discussion Papers 2951, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Holger Bonin & Rob Euwals, 2002. "Participation Behavior of East German Women after German Unification," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 D1-1, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  11. Christopher Blattman, 2006. "The Consequences of Child Soldiering," HiCN Working Papers 22, Households in Conflict Network.
  12. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
  13. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2006. "Beyond Greed and Grievance: Feasibility and Civil War," CSAE Working Paper Series 2006-10, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  14. Imbens, G. & Van Der Klaauw, W., 1993. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in the Netherlands," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1632, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  15. Akresh, Richard & Verwimp, Philip & Bundervoet, Tom, 2007. "Civil war, crop failure, and child stunting in Rwanda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4208, The World Bank.
  16. Andrea Ichino & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2004. "The Long-Run Educational Cost of World War II," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 57-86, January.
  17. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
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