Forced Displacement and Early Childhood Nutritional Development in Colombia

Year: 2014 HiCN Working Paper No. 180

This document attempts to determine the impact of forced displacement on early childhood nutritional development. I use two identification strategies in order to address the endogeneity caused by the potential correlation between forced displacement and the unobserved heterogeneity of the household. Using instrumental variables, the first strategy compares the outcomes of the displaced children with those of the children who stayed at the municipality of expulsion. The second identification strategy compares cohorts of children within the same household born before and after displacement. The results suggest that forced displacement increases the likelihood of chronic malnutrition between 12.6 and 18.1 percentage points. After controlling for household fixed effects, I find that forced displacement also delays linear growth. The results differ in magnitude and significance depending on the type of displacement (reactive or preventive), the age at which the child moved, and the time of exposure to the shock (duration of displacement).