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Prenatal Stress and Birth Weight: Evidence from the Egyptian Revolution


  • Hawash, Ronia


The Egyptian Revolution that ignited in January 2011 resulted in intense violent conflict between protestors and former regime allies. This generated a significant amount of fear and stress among people who lived in proximity to such events. We use this exogenous shock as a natural experiment to test the causal relationship between prenatal stress and birth weight. Governorate-level fatalities resulting from this conflict will be used as an exogenous indicator for prenatal stress. Using fixed effects and difference-in-difference analysis, results show that higher prenatal stress resulting from political conflict during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy has a significant negative impact on child birth weight. This finding is robust to restricting the sample to siblings' data and using mother fixed effects, suggesting that neither observable nor unobservable characteristics of mothers are driving the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Hawash, Ronia, 2019. "Prenatal Stress and Birth Weight: Evidence from the Egyptian Revolution," International Journal of Development and Conflict, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, vol. 9(1), pages 19-42.
  • Handle: RePEc:gok:ijdcv1:v:8:y:2019:i:1:p:19-42

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    Stress; Pregnancy; Birth Weight; Violence; Egypt; Revolution;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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