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The Impacts of Armed Conflict on Child Health: Evidence from 56 Developing Countries

Le, Kien and Nguyen, My (2020): The Impacts of Armed Conflict on Child Health: Evidence from 56 Developing Countries.

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Abstract

This article evaluates the extent to which armed conflicts influence early childhood health for 56 developing countries over nearly 30 years. Exploiting both spatial and temporal variations in conflict exposure within a difference-in-differences framework, we uncover detrimental ramifications of armed conflicts on the health outcomes of children under five years old. Particularly, children exposed to armed conflicts have lower height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age z-scores by 0.08, 0.05, and 0.10 standard deviations, respectively, compared to the average corresponding z-scores of children unexposed to armed conflicts. Besides, exposure to armed conflicts make children 2.2, 0.8, and 2.6 percentage points more likely to be stunted, wasted, and underweight, respectively. Taking the proportions of stunted, wasted, and underweight children who were unexposed to armed conflicts as the benchmarks, these estimates represent the 7.3%, 7.9%, 10.2% increases in the incidences of stunting, wasting, and underweight, respectively. Our heterogeneity analyses further suggest that children born to low education mothers, children from relatively poor households, and children living in rural areas are especially vulnerable.

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