Conflict Intensity and Birth Outcomes – Evidence from the West Bank

Hendrik Jürges 1  and Franz G. Westermaier 2
  • 1 Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal, Rainer-Gruenter-Str. 21 (FN), Wuppertal, Germany
  • 2 WIB – Wuppertal Research Institute for the Economics of Education & Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal, Gaustrasse 20, Wuppertal, Germany
Hendrik Jürges
  • Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal, Rainer-Gruenter-Str. 21 (FN), 42119, Wuppertal, Germany
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and Franz G. Westermaier
  • Corresponding author
  • WIB – Wuppertal Research Institute for the Economics of Education & Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal, Gaustrasse 20, 42119, Wuppertal, Germany
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  • Search for other articles:
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Abstract

This study uses data collected in the West Bank to study the effect of intrauterine exposure to conflict during the Second Intifada on birth weight. We use the number of fatalities in a locality of residence during pregnancy as an instantaneous measure of local conflict intensity. Conditional on experiencing any fatality, pregnant mothers were exposed to 11 fatalities on average, which was related to a reduction in average birth weight of about 20 g (or 3 % of a standard deviation). Although the estimated reductions are only significant for boys. Our results are consistent with the notion that violent conflict triggers prenatal psychological or economic stress in pregnant women, which in turn harms unborn children.

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