Detailed geographic information, conflict exposure, and health impacts

Richard Akresh, German Daniel Caruso, Harsha Thirumurthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We expand existing research by estimating the impact of exposure to conflict on children's health outcomes using geographic information on households’ distance from conflict sites—a more accurate measure of shock exposure than the traditional approach using regional-level information—and compare the impact of exposure in utero versus after birth. The identification strategy relies on exogenous variation in the conflict's geographic extent and timing. Using multiple waves of survey data from Ethiopia and Eritrea, we find that conflict-exposed children have significantly lower height-for-age. With GPS information that enables accounting for households’ distance from the conflict sites, negative impacts of conflict exposure are two to three times larger than if exposure is measured at the imprecise regional level. Results are robust to addressing potential exposure misclassification due to migration happening between the war and the survey collection date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105890
JournalWorld Development
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Africa
  • Child health
  • Conflict
  • Fetal origins hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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