The aftermath of crime: Indirect exposure to homicides, maternal stress, and newborns’ health.

Bernard Moscoso (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona)

June 1, 2021, 12:45–13:45


Room zoom


This paper studies mothers’ indirect exposure to homicides on newborns’ health outcomes. To do so, I combine two datasets that accounts for mothers’ residential address during pregnancy and the coordinates of all homicides occurred in Ecuador in the period 2015-17. To solve for endogeneity to crime exposure, I use three empirical strategies. First, I estimate the difference in birth weight between infants exposed to high versus low levels of homicide rates at the municipality level. Second, I use a DID model that analyzes the difference between being exposed to a homicide during pregnancy or not, relative to the analogous difference of being exposed within the 9 months following newborns’ birth. I also examine whether the mothers’ stress related to homicide exposure is attenuated when they were previously exposed to other crimes. Finally, I consider a maternal fixed effects model that considers mothers that had several children in the period examined and that were subject to different exposure levels. The results show that exposure to homicides during pregnancy generates a birth weight deficit of between 20 to 31 grams, compared to newborns exposed to homicides post-pregnancy. Moreover, the maternal fixed effects model shows that newborns exposed to homicides have a birth weight deficit of between 110 to 257 grams, compared to their non-exposed siblings. Additionally, exposure to homicides generate gestational length reductions, and a decrease in the 1st minute Apgar score. These findings suggest the importance of establishing health policies that address the stress of affected individuals.

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Bernard Moscoso (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona), The aftermath of crime: Indirect exposure to homicides, maternal stress, and newborns’ health., IAST Lunch Seminar, Toulouse: IAST, June 1, 2021, 12:45–13:45, room zoom.