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Terrorism and Human Capital at Birth: Bomb Casualties and Birth Outcomes in Spain

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  • Quintana-Domeque, Climent

    () (University of Exeter)

  • Ródenas-Serrano, Pedro

    () (Universidad de Alicante)

Abstract

We study the effects of terrorism in Spain on birth outcomes, focusing on terrorism perpetrated by ETA, combining information on the number of bomb casualties from The Victims of ETA Dataset with the individual birth records from the national registry of live births in Spain, elaborated by the Spanish Statistical Institute (INE). We focus on live births conceived between January 1980 and February 2003 and find that in utero exposure to terrorism early in pregnancy, as measured by the number of bomb casualties in the mother's province of residence in the first trimester of pregnancy, has detrimental effects on birth outcomes: in terms of average birth weight (lower), prevalence of low birth weight (higher) and fraction of "normal" babies (lower). Our results are robust to a battery of checks, such as controlling for "economic" factors and accounting for spatial "spillover" effects. In addition, we investigate potential non-linear effects and explore heterogeneous effects across groups of regions, different time periods and family characteristics. In support of our identification strategy, the number of bomb casualties after birth does not predict birth outcomes. We do not find evidence of migration effects (in terms of population size responses to last year terrorist activity), but the number of still births increases with bomb casualties in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. The estimated effect of 1 bomb casualty in the first trimester of pregnancy on average birth weight (around half a gram) is likely to be downward biased due to selective mortality. Finally, we provide a conceptual framework to understand what can be identified about the production of child health by exploiting shocks that affect (unobserved) maternal inputs.

Suggested Citation

  • Quintana-Domeque, Climent & Ródenas-Serrano, Pedro, 2014. "Terrorism and Human Capital at Birth: Bomb Casualties and Birth Outcomes in Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 8671, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8671
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    1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 15, pages 1315-1486, Elsevier.
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    6. Ainhoa Aparicio, 2014. "Newborn Health and the Business Cycle," CINCH Working Paper Series 1402, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    7. Alan B. Krueger, 2007. "Introduction to What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism," Introductory Chapters, in: What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, Princeton University Press.
    8. Bhalotra, Sonia & Clarke, Damian, 2016. "The twin instrument," ISER Working Paper Series 2016-17, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. Adriana Camacho, 2008. "Stress and Birth Weight: Evidence from Terrorist Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 511-515, May.
    10. Ryan Brown, 2014. "The Intergenerational Impact of Terror: Does the 9/11 Tragedy Reverberate into the Outcomes of the Next Generation?," HiCN Working Papers 165, Households in Conflict Network.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Akresh & Sonia Bhalotra & Marinella Leone & Una Osili, 2017. "Hunger Games: First and Second Generation Impacts of the Biafran War," HiCN Working Papers 254, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Fetzer, Thiemo & Pardo, Oliver & Shanghavi, Amar, 2016. "More than an Urban Legend: The long-term socioeconomic effects of unplanned fertility shocks," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 284, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Akresh, Richard & Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Leone, Marinella & Osili, Una O., 2017. "First and Second Generation Impacts of the Biafran War," IZA Discussion Papers 10938, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Ainoa Aparicio Fenoll & Libertad González, 2021. "Political instability and birth outcomes: Evidence from the 1981 military coup in Spain," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 328-341, February.
    5. Thiemo Fetzer & Oliver Pardo & Amar Shanghavi, 2018. "More than an urban legend: the short- and long-run effects of unplanned fertility shocks," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(4), pages 1125-1176, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    terrorism; birth weight; stress; production of child health; Spain;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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