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Civil conflict, gender-specific fetal loss, and selection: A new test of the Trivers–Willard hypothesis

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  • Valente, Christine

Abstract

A sizeable economics literature explores the effect of prenatal shocks on later health or socioeconomic status. Work in other disciplines, following the seminal contribution of Trivers and Willard (1973), suggests that prenatal shocks may increase fetal loss and reduce the number of boys relative to girls at birth. This has been largely ignored in the economics literature and could affect the interpretation of estimates of the effect of prenatal shocks and that of gender in other applied economics contexts. This paper analyzes the effect of in utero exposure to a shock – civil conflict in Nepal – on (i) fetal loss, and (ii) gender and (iii) health at birth. Maternal fixed effects estimates show that exposed pregnancies are more likely to result in a miscarriage and in a female birth, but exposed newborns are neither smaller nor more subject to neonatal mortality.

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  • Valente, Christine, 2015. "Civil conflict, gender-specific fetal loss, and selection: A new test of the Trivers–Willard hypothesis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 31-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:39:y:2015:i:c:p:31-50
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.10.005
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    4. Xi Chen & Chih Ming Tan & Xiaobo Zhang & Xin Zhang, 2020. "The effects of prenatal exposure to temperature extremes on birth outcomes: the case of China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1263-1302, October.
    5. Richard Akresh & German Daniel Caruso & Harsha Thirumurthy, 2014. "Medium-Term Health Impacts of Shocks Experienced In Utero and After Birth: Evidence from Detailed Geographic Information on War Exposure," NBER Working Papers 20763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Olivier Dagnelie & Giacomo De Luca & Jean-Francois Maystadt, 2014. "Do girls pay the price of civil war?," Working Papers 66401113, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    7. Dagnelie, Olivier & Luca, Giacomo Davide De & Maystadt, Jean-François, 2018. "Violence, selection and infant mortality in Congo," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 153-177.
    8. Akresh, Richard & Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Leone, Marinella & Osili, Una O., 2017. "First and Second Generation Impacts of the Biafran War," IZA Discussion Papers 10938, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Ahsan, Md Nazmul & Maharaj, Riddhi, 2018. "Parental human capital and child health at birth in India," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 130-149.
    10. Dagnelie, Olivier & De Luca, Giacomo & Maystadt, Jean-François, 2014. "Do girls pay the price of civil war? Violence and infant mortality in Congo:," IFPRI discussion papers 1374, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Akresh, Richard & Caruso, German Daniel & Thirumurthy, Harsha, 2016. "Detailed Geographic Information, Conflict Exposure, and Health Impacts," IZA Discussion Papers 10330, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Grönqvist, Erik & Norén, Anna & Sjögren, Anna & Svaleryd, Helena, 2016. "Sober mom, healthy baby? Effects of brief alcohol interventions in Swedish maternity care," Working Paper Series 2016:16, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    13. Benjamin A. Olken & Junko Onishi & Susan Wong, 2014. "Should Aid Reward Performance? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Health and Education in Indonesia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 1-34, October.
    14. Abhishek Chakravarty & Matthias Parey & Greg C Wright, 2021. "The Human Capital Legacy of a Trade Embargo," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 1692-1733.
    15. Phadera, Lokendra, 2021. "Unfortunate Moms and Unfortunate Children: Impact of the Nepali Civil War on Women's Stature and Intergenerational Health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    16. Michelle L. O’Brien, 2021. "The Consequences of the Tajikistani Civil War for Abortion and Miscarriage," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 40(5), pages 1061-1084, October.
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    18. François Libois, 2016. "Households in Times of War : Adaptation Strategies during the Nepal Civil War," Working Papers 1603, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    19. Laura Rodríguez, 2022. "Violence and newborn health: Estimates for Colombia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 112-136, January.
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    21. Bruno Conte & Lavinia Piemontese & Augustin Tapsola, 2021. "The Power of Markets: Impact of Desert Locust Invasions on Child Health," CESifo Working Paper Series 9130, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sex ratio; Civil conflict; Fetal loss; Trivers–Willard; Nepal;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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