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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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Akresh & Sonia Bhalotra & Marinella Leone & Una Osili, 2017. "Hunger Games: First and Second Generation Impacts of the Biafran War," HiCN Working Papers 254, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2017. "Heterogeneity in the long term health effects of warfare," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 27(PA), pages 126-136.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Olivier Dagnelie & Giacomo De Luca & Jean-Francois Maystadt, 2014. "Do girls pay the price of civil war? Violence and infant mortality in Congo," Working Papers of Department of Economics, Leuven 490852, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), Department of Economics, Leuven.
    9. Richard Akresh & German Daniel Caruso & Harsha Thirumurthy, 2016. "Detailed Geographic Information, Conflict Exposure, and Health Impacts," HiCN Working Papers 238, Households in Conflict Network.
    10. 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.
    11. 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).
    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. Abhishek Chakravarty & Matthias Parey & Greg C. Wright, 2017. "The Human Capital Legacy of a Trade Embargo," 2017 Papers pch906, Job Market Papers.
    14. Sefa Awaworyi Churchill & Janet Exornam Ocloo & Diana Siawor-Robertson, 2017. "Ethnic Diversity and Health Outcomes," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 1077-1112, December.
    15. François Libois, 2016. "Households in Times of War : Adaptation Strategies during the Nepal Civil War," Working Papers 1603, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    16. Samantha B. Rawlings, 2016. "Gender, Race, and Heterogeneous Effects of Epidemic Malaria on Human Capital and Income," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(3), pages 509-543.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sex ratio; Civil conflict; Fetal loss; Trivers–Willard; Nepal;

    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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