In utero exposure to Civil Conflict: Nicaraguan War and its long-term effects on socioeconomic outcomes

Kim, Booyuel / Rony Rodriguez-Ramirez / Yang, Hee-Seung

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We examine the Nicaraguan Civil conflict in the seventies that ended up with the overthrown of the Somoza dictatorship and the start of the Sandinista Revolution. Nicaragua between 1977 and 1979 experienced high rates of war confrontation. After the announcement of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN, by its acronym in Spanish) in November of 1977, the country had undergone a civil war which ended up with a range of 30,000-50,000 casualties. The escalated confrontation allows us to examine the long-term effects of the war-related conflict on the subsequent generation’s socioeconomic outcomes. In particular, this paper aims to identify whether in-utero exposure to the civil conflict in Nicaragua has a negative impact on individual’s labor and marriage market outcomes. We exploit the variation in timing of and geographical exposure to the civil conflict during the last year of the dictatorship. We construct novel data which combine full population information of the 2005 Nicaraguan National Census, the World Health Organization historical mortality data, and the Correlates of War. Exploiting differences across regions and across cohorts, our preliminary findings indicate that the civil conflict negatively affected those exposed to the conflict in utero. In particular, the long-term consequences of the war decreased educational attainment, formal employability, and thus reducing lifetime earnings, especially for females. The exposure to the civil conflict also seems to decrease marriage probability.

Issue Date
KDI School of Public Policy and Management
Series Title
KDI School Working Paper 18-14
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