DP11279 Violence and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from Homicides in Brazil

Author(s): Martin Koppensteiner, Marco Manacorda
Publication Date: May 2016
Keyword(s): Birth Outcomes, Birthweight, Brazil., Homicides, Stress
JEL(s): I12, I15, I39, J13, K42
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11279

This paper uses microdata from Brazilian vital statistics on births and deaths between 2000 and 2010 to estimate the impact of in-utero exposure to local violence - measured by homicide rates - on birth outcomes. The estimates show that exposure to violence during the first trimester of pregnancy leads to a small but precisely estimated increase in the risk of low birthweight and prematurity. Effects are found both in small municipalities, where homicides are rare, and in large municipalities, where violence is endemic, and are particularly pronounced among children of poorly educated mothers, implying that violence compounds the disadvantage that these children already suffer as a result of their households' lower socioeconomic status.