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Do girls pay the price of civil war?: violence and infant mortality in Congo

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

This paper documents the impact of civil wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo on infant mortality between 1997 and 2004. It adopts an instrumental variable approach to correct for the non-random timing and location of conflict. Strong and robust evidence, including mother fixed effects regressions, shows that conflict significantly increases girl mortality. It also examines the mechanisms explaining this phenomenon, with a focus on disentangling the behavioral from the biological factors. The analysis suggests that gender imbalances in infant mortality are driven by the selection induced by a higher vulnerability of boys in utero rather than by gender discrimination.