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Military training exercises, pollution, and their consequences for health

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  • Bobonis, Gustavo J.
  • Stabile, Mark
  • Tovar, Leonardo

Abstract

Militaries around the world perform training exercises in preparation for war. We study the relationship between in utero exposure to military exercises (bombing) and early-life health outcomes, combining data on naval bombing exercises in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and the universe of births from 1990 to 2003. Using a differences-in-differences design, we find that the sudden end of bombing practices is associated with a 56–79% decrease in the incidence of congenital anomalies. The evidence is generally consistent with the channel of environmental pollution through increases in contaminant levels in waters surrounding the live impact area.

Suggested Citation

  • Bobonis, Gustavo J. & Stabile, Mark & Tovar, Leonardo, 2020. "Military training exercises, pollution, and their consequences for health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:73:y:2020:i:c:s0167629618311548
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2020.102345
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 5th October 2020
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2020-10-05 11:00:05

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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Infant health; Military activity; Environmental pollution; Maternal stress;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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