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Working Paper
Public Policies
Grace Armijos Bravo, Judit Vall Castelló

2021/05: Terrorist attacks, Islamophobia and newborns’health

Islamophobia has increased in recent years which can be partly attributed to terrorist attacks perpetrated by jihadist groups. Islamophobia might be a source of stress, being problematic for pregnant (Muslim) women. We examine how stress generated by the 2017 Catalonia (Spain) attacks affected the health of newborns whose mothers are from a Muslim country (as the perpetrators). We use a difference-in-differences-in-differences model comparing newborns whose mothers come from a Muslim country and are residing in a municipality directly affected by the attacks, to other newborns, before-after the attacks. Results show that the share of low-birth-weight babies and deliveries with complications raise significantly by 23.77%, and 13.02%. We document a significant increase in Islamophobia and in emotional distress in our treated group. We conclude that one of the channels contributing to the deterioration of those newborns health is the stress faced by their mothers that resulted from the increase in Islamophobia.



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