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Stress and birth outcomes: evidence from terrorist attacks in Colombia


  • Adriana Camacho



This paper estimates the impact of random terrorist attacks (landmines) in Colombia onthe health of babies born between 1998 and 2003. The results suggest that these types of terrorist activities that occur during a woman´s first trimester of pregnancy have a negative and significant impact on child health outcomes such as birth weight and preterm deliveries, and behaviors such as use of prenatal care. These findings persist when mother fixed effects are included, suggesting that neither observable nor unobservable characteristics of the mothers are driving the results. The paper contributes to the existing literature by identifying yet another important channel through which violence affects economic well being. Given that studies have found a strong link between Low Birth Weight (LBW) and short and long-term socioeconomic outcomes, the negative consequences of violence identified in this paper may have long-term effects on economic activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Adriana Camacho, 2007. "Stress and birth outcomes: evidence from terrorist attacks in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 004014, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:004014

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel Mejía & Carlos Esteban Posada, 2003. "Capital Destruction, Optimal Defense and Economic Growth," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 002096, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    2. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083.
    3. Rony Pshisva & Gustavo A. Suárez F., 2006. "Captive Markets: the Impact of Kidnappings on Corporate Investment in Colombia," COYUNTURA ECONÓMICA, FEDESARROLLO, June.
    4. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
    5. Rony Pshisva & Gustavo A. Suarez, 2006. "'Captive markets': the impact of kidnappings on corporate investment in Colombia," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Anna Aizer, 2007. "Wages, Violence and Health in the Household," NBER Working Papers 13494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Patricia Justino, 2012. "Nutrition, Governance and Violence: A Framework for the Analysis of Resilience and Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in Contexts of Violent Conflict," HiCN Working Papers 132, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Anton Parlow, 2012. "Armed Conflict and Children’s Health – Exploring new directions: The case of Kashmir," HiCN Working Papers 119, Households in Conflict Network.
    3. Ramirez, N.F. & Gamboa, L.F. & Bedi, A.S. & Sparrow, R.A., 2012. "Child malnutrition and antenatal care: Evidence from three Latin American countries," ISS Working Papers - General Series 536, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    4. Parlow, Anton, 2012. "Armed conflict and children's health - exploring new directions: The case of Kashmir," MPRA Paper 38033, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    birth weight; health; violence; landmine; terrorism;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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