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Title: Essays in Development Economics
Author: Moscoso Miranda, Henry Bernard
Director/Tutor: Calzada, Joan
Keywords: Econometria
Desenvolupament econòmic
Economia ambiental
Política agrícola
Delictes contra la salut pública
Economic development
Environmental economics
Crimes against public health
Issue Date: 13-Oct-2021
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] Development economics seeks to provide evidence to improve life quality standards of the societies. This thesis contributes to this field with a multidisciplinary research on health, environmental and crime economics. This essay is composed of 3 academic papers that analyze actual social problems that have received little attention by policy makers and scholars, and that are negatively affecting newborns health and women wellbeing, in the context of Ecuador. The pivotal economic literature has shown the relevance of studying the impact of different types of externalities on health at birth and infant health (Barker, 1995; Almond et al., 2005; Black et al., 2007; Almond and Currie, 2011; Almond, Currie, and Duque, 2018). Social problems such as insecurity or environment pollution play a fundamental role in the newborns’ growing environment. Nowadays, there is a wide evidence on the consequences that adverse environmental externalities received during intra-uterine growth generate in the future development and living conditions of the population, affecting relevant aspects like their cognitive ability, psychological and personality traits, scholarity, and wages (Currie and Vogl, 2013; Bharadwaj et al., 2013; Almond, Currie, and Duque, 2018). Similarly, there is a growing empirical evidence on the negative consequences of insecurity and crime on infant cognitive capacity and human capital formation (Duque, 2017; Sharkey et al., 2012). Moreover, crime generates psychological stress to those individuals who are directly or indirectly exposed to it (Aizer, 2016; Koppensteiner and Manacorda, 2016; Currie et al., 2020). This thesis contributes to this literature examining three relevant problems that affects the population of Ecuador: environmental pollution due to the use of pesticides in agriculture; maternal stress due to violent crimes, and violence against women. Moreover, each chapter provides strong evidence to address future public policy design. The second chapter of the thesis examines the effects of the use of pesticides in the banana plantations of Ecuador on newborns’ health outcomes. The results drawn from this research reveal that the exposure to the intensive use of pesticides leads to a deficit in the birth weight when the exposure occurs during the first trimester of gestation. Moreover, exposure to intensive use of pesticides during the last gestation stage increases the likelihood of low birth weight and low Apgar score at first minute. The third chapter of the thesis reveals the existence of a retaliation effect after a reform of the penal code in 2014 that increased the penalties for gender-related violence and that introduce the femicide penalty type. I show that this legislative reform, and its enforcement, led to a (temporally) increase in the women victimization rates. The fourth chapter of this thesis examines the effects of the maternal stress generated by violent crimes on newborns’ health outcomes. The results obtained from this research reveal that mothers’ indirect exposure to homicides during pregnancy causes a deficit in the birth weight, which is especially important when this exposure occurs during the first trimester of gestation. Moreover, I demonstrate that mothers’ past exposure to violent crimes attenuates the effects of homicides during pregnancy. Furthermore, the exposure to homicides during the last gestation term reduces gestation length and the Apgar score at the first minute.
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Facultat - Economia i Empresa

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