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Violent Conflict and Breastfeeding: The Case of Iraq

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  • Diwakar, Vidya

    () (Overseas Development Institute)

  • Malcolm, Michael

    () (West Chester University of Pennsylvania)

  • Naufal, George S

    () (Texas A&M University)

Abstract

This study explores the relationship between armed conflict and breastfeeding practices of Iraqi mothers. Using a unique pairing of the Iraq Body Count database, in conjunction with the 2006 and 2011 Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys for Iraq, we find that increases in conflict-related casualties are associated with a decline in breastfeeding incidence, with some mixed results on breastfeeding duration. We also explore a number of potential causal channels, including interactions with household wealth and accessibility of formula. The results are informative in the context of designing policy aimed at stabilizing the long-term health and productivity of populations in conflict areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Diwakar, Vidya & Malcolm, Michael & Naufal, George S, 2017. "Violent Conflict and Breastfeeding: The Case of Iraq," IZA Discussion Papers 10937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10937
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
    2. Tom Bundervoet & Philip Verwimp & Richard Akresh, 2009. "Health and Civil War in Rural Burundi," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
    3. Akresh, Richard & Lucchetti, Leonardo & Thirumurthy, Harsha, 2012. "Wars and child health: Evidence from the Eritrean–Ethiopian conflict," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 330-340.
    4. Emla Fitzsimons & Marcos Vera-Hernandez, 2013. "Food for Thought? Breastfeeding and Child Development," IFS Working Papers W13/31, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Mansour, Hani & Rees, Daniel I., 2012. "Armed conflict and birth weight: Evidence from the al-Aqsa Intifada," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 190-199.
    6. Gabriela Guerrero-Serdán, 2009. "The Effects of the War in Iraq on Nutrition and Health: An Analysis Using Anthropometric Outcomes of Children," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 09/01, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London.
    7. Abada, Teresa S. J. & Trovato, Frank & Lalu, Nirannanilathu, 2001. "Determinants of breastfeeding in the Philippines: a survival analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 71-81, January.
    8. Judith Galtry, 1997. "Suckling and Silence in the USA: The Costs and Benefits of Breastfeeding," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 1-24.
    9. Pl mper, Thomas & Neumayer, Eric, 2006. "The Unequal Burden of War: The Effect of Armed Conflict on the Gender Gap in Life Expectancy," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 723-754, July.
    10. Julie Smith & Lindy Ingham, 2005. "Mothers' Milk And Measures Of Economic Output," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 41-62.
    11. Del Bono, Emilia & Rabe, Birgitta, 2012. "Breastfeeding and child cognitive outcomes: evidence from a hospital-based breastfeeding support policy," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-29, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    conflict; breastfeeding; Middle East; Iraq;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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