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Effects of conflict on child health: Evidence from the 1990–1994 Northern Mali Conflict

Takahiro Tsujimoto and Yoko Kijima ()

Health Economics, 2020, vol. 29, issue 11, 1456-1474

Abstract: This study evaluates the impact of the 1990–1994 conflict in northern Mali on child health at different timings of exposure (in utero and after birth). Two anthropometric variables (height‐for‐age and weight‐for‐height Z‐scores) are used as indicators of child health. The empirical strategy relies on the difference‐in‐difference approach based on birth cohort, GIS residence information, and conflict intensity. The intensity of conflict exposure is measured by the number of deaths resulting from a conflict that broke out within a 10‐km radius of each community. The estimation results show that the more severe the exposure to children and their mothers, the greater is the negative impact on the height, but not on the weight, of children. Additionally, the timing of conflict exposure plays a critical role in the outcome of a child's health: exposure to conflict in utero, rather than after birth, negatively affects health. Placebo test as well as tests of selective migration, fertility, and mortality are conducted and confirmed the robustness of the main results. The differential effects of the timing of exposure in utero suggest that the heightened maternal stress is the main mechanism.

Date: 2020
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