The Effect of Civil Conflict on Child Abuse: Evidence from Peru


Year: 2014 HiCN Working Paper No. 187

In this paper, we investigate whether violence occurring outside the confines of a home can alter intrahousehold violence. Using the Peruvian civil conflict that occurred between 1980 and 2000, this paper is the first to explore whether exposure to violence from an armed conflict affects the later use of physical punishment as a child discipline method. This paper’s identification strategy relies on the spatial and temporal variation of Peru’s internal civil conflict. A motherexposed to an additional one hundred violent conflict-related events in her district during her lifetime is 3.4-3.8 percentage points less likely to abuse her children. This effect is equivalent in magnitude to an additional 10 years of education. We find suggestive evidence that conflict could have increased parenting knowledge and support. Communities that experienced higher levels of conflict violence saw greater increases in social spending and had more health resources in the post-conflict period, and women’s conflict exposure is associated with a higher likelihood of accessing these resources.

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