Using insights from the literature on psychology and medicine, we examine the impact of terrorism on child sex at birth. The psychological and social stressors associated with terrorist events prior to conception trigger changes in maternal hormones that have an implication for birth outcomes.
We extract data on 11,763 live births conceived between 2005 and 2012 from Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012-2013. The individual birth data are matched with household and district data from the same survey and monthly terrorist incidents information from Global Terrorism Database. We investigate the effect of terrorist attacks around the time of conception on the probability of having a boy after controlling for location (state and district) characteristics, time (year and moth) effects, and socio-economic factors of parents. Our preliminary findings suggest that terrorist attacks during conception period reduce the likelihood of a male birth. The literature on the economic consequences of terrorism is inconclusive. Our results provide microeconomic evidence of the long-term impact of terrorism on population dynamics and economic development.