Terrorist attacks have detrimental effects not only on those directly affected as victims. The negative consequences also extend to future generations, according to a new IZA Discussion Paper by Climent Quintana-Domeque and Pedro Ródenas-Serrano. Unborn babies show a number of inferior birth outcomes if their mothers were exposed to attacks in their community during pregnancy.
The authors focus on bomb attacks committed between 1980 and 2003 by ETA, the Basque underground organization fighting for independence from Spain. Babies whose mothers had experienced a terrorist attack in their city of residence during pregnancy had a lower average birth weight. The risk of stillbirth also increased. The authors discuss stress and altered health behavior of expecting mothers as pathways. Their results highlight the social burden induced by violent conflict that goes far beyond direct effects through killings and destruction.