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Medium-Term Health Impacts of Shocks Experienced In Utero and After Birth: Evidence from Detailed Geographic Information on War Exposure

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Listed:
  • Richard Akresh
  • German Daniel Caruso
  • Harsha Thirumurthy

Abstract

This paper estimates the impact of armed conflict on subsequent health outcomes using detailed geographic information on households’ distance from conflict sites—a more accurate measure of conflict exposure— and compares the impact on children exposed in utero versus after birth. The identification strategy relies on exogenous variation in the conflict’s geographic extent and timing as well as the exposure of different birth cohorts while in utero or after birth. Results show that war-exposed children subsequently have lower height-for-age Z-scores, and impacts using GPS information are 87-188% larger than if exposure is measured at the imprecise regional level. Effects of in utero and after birth exposure are comparable in magnitude, and children in the war instigating and losing country (Eritrea) suffer more than the winning nation (Ethiopia). Results are robust to including region-specific time trends, alternative conflict exposure measures, and addressing potential bias due to selective migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Akresh & German Daniel Caruso & Harsha Thirumurthy, 2014. "Medium-Term Health Impacts of Shocks Experienced In Utero and After Birth: Evidence from Detailed Geographic Information on War Exposure," NBER Working Papers 20763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20763
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tony Addison & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa & Saurabh Singhal & Rachel M. Gisselquist, 2015. "Needs vs expediency: Poverty reduction and social development in post-conflict countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 063, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. 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).
    3. Hamid Reza Oskorouchi, 2019. "Learning to Fight: Afghan Child Health and In‐utero Exposure to Conflict," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 45(2), pages 275-300, June.
    4. Richard Akresh, 2016. "Climate Change, Conflict, and Children," HiCN Working Papers 221, Households in Conflict Network.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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