Paloma Lopez de mesa Moyano is an economics doctoral student at The Graduate Center, CUNY.
Seminar Topic: “The Intergenerational Health Effects of the U.S. Bombing Campaign in Cambodia”
Abstract: I investigate the long-term persistence of negative health effects of the United States’ Cambodian bombing campaign. In combination with detailed information from official U.S. military records on the timing, location, and intensity of bombing, I use two rounds of Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) to estimate intergenerational health effects on children born between 1995 and 2005 to mothers who were in utero during the 1970-1974 bombing campaign. I identify effects of the bombing by exploiting within-location cohort variation in exposure. Children born to mothers who were in utero during periods of intense local bombing have substantially lower weight-for-age Z-scores (WAZ); differences in height-for-age Z-scores (HAZ) present among children older than 24 months. If the mother experienced the average exposure of 187 tons of bombs within a 10 km radius of her birthplace while she was in utero this causes a decrease of 0.4 SD in HAZ. Stunting perpetuation seems to be one of the mechanisms of transmission, as in utero exposure of the mother also implies a 0.25 SD reduction in their adult height-for-age. These results imply that the legacy of the U.S. military campaign may explain a non-trivial portion the low health capital among current-day third-generation post-bombing Cambodians.