Bombs and Babies: Terrorism Increases Fertility in Nigeria

33 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2019

See all articles by Valentina Rotondi

Valentina Rotondi

University of Oxford

Michele Rocca

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 10, 2019


This paper studies the association between exposure to Boko Haram's attacks and households' fertility choices in Nigeria. In our model, parents decide not only how many children they want to have, but also how much they want to invest in them. The model's predictions suggest that households exposed to terrorism increase their number of children as a way to insure against future unexpected shocks and reduce investment in their offspring. We test the predictions of the model using geolocalized panel data linked to information on terrorist attacks that occurred in the region. Consistent with the theory, terrorism is found to increase fertility (proxied by the number of surviving children per household) and decrease parental investment (proxied by child malnutrition). The first association is robust to the use of difference-in-differences and instrumental variables models – and therefore can be given a causal interpretation – but the second is not.

Keywords: Terrorism, Fertility, Parental investment, Boko Haram, Nigeria

JEL Classification: J13, I15, D19

Suggested Citation

Rotondi, Valentina and Rocca, Michele, Bombs and Babies: Terrorism Increases Fertility in Nigeria (June 10, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Valentina Rotondi (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Michele Rocca

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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