Terrorism and fertility: Evidence for a causal influence of terrorism on fertility

Claude Berrebi*, Jordan Ostwald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Using a panel data set of 170 countries and terrorism data from 1970 to 2007, we find that terrorist attacks decrease fertility as measured by both total fertility rates and crude birth rates. Furthermore, by using a novel instrumental variable approach, we identify a causal link and address endogeneity concerns related to the possibility of stress, caused by rising birth rates or transitioning demographics, affecting terrorism. We find that on average, terrorist attacks decrease fertility, reducing both the expected number of children a woman has over her lifetime and the number of live births occurring during each year. The results are statistically significant and robust across a multitude of model specifications, varying measures of fertility, and differing measures of terrorism.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbergpu042
Pages (from-to)63-82
Number of pages20
JournalOxford Economic Papers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2014. All rights reserved.


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