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Estimating the direct costs of social conflicts: Road blockings in Bolivia

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  • Bruno De Borger

    (University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium)

  • Vincenzo Verardi

    (FUNDP, University of Namur and ULB, Brussels, Belgium)

Abstract

Social conflicts are a serious obstacle to economic growth in many Latin American societies, affecting economic activity both in the short and the long run. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, we develop a methodology to estimate the direct, short-run impact of frequently occurring exponents of local conflicts, such as road blockings, on economic activity. The methodology is based on using high frequency (daily) data to estimate the relation between a proxy for economic activity and the occurrence of road blockings. Careful analysis of impulse-response functions traces the effect of such local social conflicts on economic activity. This information is combined with the aggregate annual time series relation between gross domestic product (GDP) and the high frequency proxy for economic activity to estimate the direct cost of local social conflicts for the economy as a whole. Second, we apply the proposed methodology to analyse the direct economic costs of road blockings in Bolivia, using detailed daily information for the year 2003. The results show that these costs are large. Stronger institutions are a critical factor in reducing the prevalence of such conflicts and to avoid the huge economic costs that they imply. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 21 (2009)
Issue (Month): 7 ()
Pages: 932-946

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:21:y:2009:i:7:p:932-946

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/5102/home

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  1. Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
  2. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2004. "Does decentralization increase government responsiveness to local needs?: Evidence from Bolivia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 867-893, March.
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  6. Vincenzo Verardi, 2004. "Electoral systems, racial tension and decentralization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9895, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Laurent Bouton & Marjorie Gassner & Vincenzo Verardi, 2008. "Redistributing income under fiscal vertical imbalance," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9905, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Verardi, Vincenzo, 2005. "Electoral systems and income inequality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 7-12, January.
  9. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Shah, Anwar, 1998. "Balance, accountability, and responsiveness : lessons about decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2021, The World Bank.
  11. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
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