The Peace Baby Boom: Evidence from Colombia’s peace agreement with the FARC

Year: 2020 HiCN Working Paper No. 337

Abstract: Violent environments are known to affect household fertility choices, demand for health services and health outcomes of newborns. Using administrative data with a difference-in-differences, we study how the end of the 50 years old Colombian conflict with FARC modified such decisions and outcomes in traditionally affected areas of the country. Results indicate that generalised reductions in total fertility rate were slowed down for municipalities traditionally affected by conflict as a result of the permanent ceasefire declared by the FARC insurgency. Total fertility rate observed a relative increase of 2.6% in the formerly conflict-affected areas, in all age groups. However, no impact was found for demand of health care services, neonatal and infant mortality rates, or birth outcomes such as the incidence of low weight at birth or the percentage of preterm births. Our evidence shows that municipalities with mines victims and expelled population by forced displacement before the ceasefire have significantly higher total fertility rate in the four years following the ceasefire. We argue that the mechanism behind this result is the optimism to raise the children in a better environment due to the reduction in victimisation in areas that experience FARC violence.