The effect of prenatal stress on cooperation: Evidence from violent conflict in Uganda
Francesco Cecchi () and
European Economic Review, 2018, vol. 101, issue C, 35-56
Are preferences endogenously determined in the womb? We play a public goods game with Ugandan children born during a conflict characterised by high civilian victimisation. Children whose caregivers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to free-ride in the game. Genetic and environmental factors alone do not explain the relationship, but children’s 2D:4D digit ratio – a marker of fetal hormone exposure associated with epigenetic effects of maternal distress – does. Our findings extend the fetal origins literature to the domain of preferences. By reducing next generation’s taste for cooperation, conflict may have father-reaching economic consequences than previously thought.
Keywords: Prenatal stress; Cooperation; Digit ratio; Fetal origins; Conflict (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 C93 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:35-56
Access Statistics for this article
European Economic Review is currently edited by T.S. Eicher, A. Imrohoroglu, E. Leeper, J. Oechssler and M. Pesendorfer
More articles in European Economic Review from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Nithya Sathishkumar ().