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A mother and son in Pisac, Peru, where health-spending cuts have contributed to a 13% rise in infant mortality. Photo: Sergi Reboredo/VW PICS/UIG via Getty Images

Recent terrorist attacks in Kashmir, North Sinai and Bogotá have put their respective government’s security policies under the microscope.

The big picture: In the wake of such attacks, there are strong political incentives to reassure the public with highly visible, forceful measures. In developing countries, however, beefing up security often comes at the steep cost of spending cuts to social welfare programs.

Background: Although terrorism in Western countries receives extensive media attention, the vast majority of attacks occur in poor countries that struggle to pay for national security. These locales often also have fragile social service systems that can worsen quickly after funding cuts.

  • For each Peruvian soldier killed by the resurgent "Shining Path" rebels, more than 70 infants die in subsequent years due to resulting cuts in health spending — contributing to an estimated 13% increase in Peru's infant mortality rate.
  • In Iraq, infant mortality more than doubled after severe health budget cuts related to war, terrorism and sanctions.

Between the lines: Deteriorating social welfare in countries strained by conflict can exacerbate a downward spiral: Social cuts weaken economic growth and drive a loss of confidence in government, which reduces political stability and leaves marginalized communities susceptible to anti-government recruitment.

Filling the welfare gap in these countries yields large dividends. More investment by international donors and the private sector could enable countries to maintain health and education services in the face of conflict.

  • Yes, but: If poor governments expect that the U.S. and other big donors may fill their coffers after terrorist attacks, it could create perverse incentives. The global community would have to find an approach that both helps end conflicts and mitigates their impact in the meantime.

The bottom line: The media often focuses on the immediate effects of terrorism — especially sensational attacks with high casualty counts. But the indirect effects may be even greater, as poor communities face the long-term implications of disruptions in vital services.

Renard Sexton is a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University's Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. Rachel Wellhausen is an associate professor of government at the University of Texas, Austin. Mike Findley is a professor of government at the University of Texas, Austin.

Go deeper: Read the authors’ full study, with more analysis on Peru.

Go deeper

Updated 34 mins ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Tokyo Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz has become the first Team United States Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver, .86 seconds behind him. Moments later, Kieran Smith grabbed a third medal for the U.S. when he won bronze in the 400-meter freestyle.

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

DOJ won't investigate nursing home deaths in N.Y. and 2 other states

People who've lost loved ones due to COVID-19 while they were in New York nursing homes attend a March protest and vigil in New York City. As of this month, Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has decided not to launch a civil rights investigation into whether policies in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan contributed to pandemic deaths in nursing homes, according to a letter sent to Republicans.

Why it matters: The Trump DOJ requested data from the three states plus New Jersey last August "amid still-unanswered questions about whether some states, especially New York, inadvertently worsened the pandemic death toll by requiring nursing homes to accept residents previously hospitalized for COVID-19," per AP.

Former Blizzard CEO says he "failed” women at the studio

Image: Neville Elder / Getty Images

Mike Morhaime, who co-founded and worked at video game studio Blizzard for 28 years, has apologized publicly for toxic work conditions at his former studio, which is now the subject of a discrimination and harassment lawsuit by the state of California.

Why it matters: Morhaime is no longer at Blizzard, but was its leader for most of its existence and therefore was in charge when much of what is alleged in California’s suit would have occurred.