Violent Conflict and Second-Generation Health Outcomes: Evidence from Angola

Eleonora Nillesen, UNU-MERIT

Violent conflict can have long-lasting impacts on health and economic outcomes that may also spill over to the next generation. We examine the long-term effects of exposure to an intense period of the Angolan Civil War (August 1992 - July 1994) and are among the first to provide evidence of intergenerational impacts. This paper uses 2014 DHS survey data from Angola that we are able to match with geo-referenced violence data at the district level. Our identification strategy relies on exogenous variation in the geographic extent of the violence and timing and the exposure of different birth cohorts. The survey data also provides information about the parent’s migration history that helps us accurately measure exposure to violence. We find that mothers’ exposure to the war during early childhood has adverse impacts on next-generation child health outcomes, including survival rates, height-for-age z-scores, likelihood of growth stunting and wasting, and size of the child at birth. We find limited impacts on fathers’ exposure. Next-generation outcomes may change as a result of parental exposure to violence through reduced parental endowments, parental investments or other unobserved factors. Our data are not ideal to study the exact underlying mechanisms but we find that maternal exposure to the war is negatively associated with mothers’ educational attainment, age at first marriage, labor market participation, the number of antenatal care visits, and delivery in a hospital. War-affected mothers also tend to have had more children born. Results are robust to including district fixed effects, district specific time trends and, mother- and child year-of-birth fixed effects.

Venue: UNU-MERIT, Room 0.16-0.17

Date: 28 February 2018

Time: 13:00 - 14:00  CEST