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The Impact of Land Mines on Child Health: Evidence from Angola


  • Jean-Louis Arcand
  • Aude-Sophie Rodella-Boitreaud
  • Matthias Rieger


This article estimates the causal impact of land mines on child health in Angola, controlling for conflict exposure. Our identification strategy is based on the geography of the Angolan civil war. We posit that distance between communes and rebel headquarters is an exogenous driver of land mine contamination. We find that land mine intensity is positively correlated with the distance to a set of rebel headquarters. Instrumental variables estimates, based on two household surveys and the Landmines Impact Survey, indicate that land mines have large and negative effects on weight-for-age and height-for-age. We discuss our results with respect to the costs and benefits of land mine clearance, as well as the long-term costs of early malnutrition. We also compare the magnitude of our estimates with those of related studies on the impact of conflict on child health.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Louis Arcand & Aude-Sophie Rodella-Boitreaud & Matthias Rieger, 2015. "The Impact of Land Mines on Child Health: Evidence from Angola," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(2), pages 249-279.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/679069
    DOI: 10.1086/679069

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel, 2014. "Children of War: The Long-Run Effects of Large-Scale Physical Destruction and Warfare on Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 634-662.
    2. Richard Akresh & Sonia Bhalotra & Marinella Leone & Una Okonkwo Osili, 2012. "War and Stature: Growing Up during the Nigerian Civil War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 273-277, May.
    3. Alderman, Harold & Hoogeveen, Hans & Rossi, Mariacristina, 2006. "Reducing child malnutrition in Tanzania: Combined effects of income growth and program interventions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-23, January.
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    1. Chiovelli, Giorgio & Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2018. "Landmines and Spatial Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 13021, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Martin-Shields, Charles P. & Stojetz, Wolfgang, 2019. "Food security and conflict: Empirical challenges and future opportunities for research and policy making on food security and conflict," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 150-164.
    3. Le, Duong Trung & Pham, Thanh Minh & Polachek, Solomon, 2022. "The long-term health impact of Agent Orange: Evidence from the Vietnam War," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
    4. Nguyen, Cuong & Tran, Tuyen & Vu, Huong, 2021. "The Long-Term Effects of War on Foreign Direct Investment and Economic Development: Evidence from Vietnam," MPRA Paper 111891, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Freudenreich, Hanna & Aladysheva, Anastasia & Brück, Tilman, 2022. "Weather shocks across seasons and child health: Evidence from a panel study in the Kyrgyz Republic," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
    6. Prem, Mounu & Purroy, Miguel E & Vargas, Juan F., 2021. "Landmines: The Local Effects of Demining," Working papers 86, Red Investigadores de Economía.
    7. Balietti, Anca & Datta, Souvik & Veljanoska, Stefanija, 2022. "Air pollution and child development in India," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).

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