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The Long-Run Effects of Warfare and Destruction on Children: Evidence from World War II ∗

By Mevlude Akbulut-yuksel

Abstract

During World War II, over one-half million tons of bombs were dropped in area raids on German cities, destroying about one-fifth of the total housing stock nationwide. This paper provides causal evidence on the long-run consequences of large-scale war destruction on the educational attainment and health status of German children. I combine a unique dataset on city-level destruction in Germany caused by Allied Air Forces bombing during WWII with individual survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). My identification strategy exploits the plausibly exogenous city-by-cohort variation in the intensity of WWII destruction. My findings suggest significant, long-lasting detrimental effects on the human capital formation of Germans who were school-aged during WWII. First, these children had 0.3 fewer years of schooling on average in adulthood, with those in the most hard-hit cities completing 1.2 fewer years. Second, these children were about half inches (one centimeter) shorter and had lower self-reported health satisfaction in adulthood. These results survive using alternative samples and specifications, including controlling for migration an

Topics: JEL Codes, N34, N44, J24 Keywords, World War II, Destruction, Education, Health Status
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.187.613
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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