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CEP discussion paper
Violence and birth outcomes: evidence from homicides in Brazil
Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner and Marco Manacorda
January 2015
Paper No' CEPDP1323:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I12; I15; J13

Tags: birth outcomes; birthweight; homicides; stress; brazil

This paper uses microdata from Brazilian natality and mortality vital statistics between 2000 and 2010 to estimate the impact of in-utero exposure to local violence - measured by homicide rates - on birth outcomes. The estimates shows 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 in both rural areas, where homicides are rare, and in urban areas, where violence is endemic. Our estimates imply that homicides in Brazil are responsible for at least 0.5 percent of the incidence of low birthweight (<=2.5 kg) and 3 percent of the incidence of extremely low birthweight (<=1 kg).