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The long-term educational cost of war: evidence from landmine contamination in Cambodia

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  • Ouarda Merrouche

Abstract

The economic impact of war may be visible in the long run and particularly its impact on human capital. I use unique district level data on landmine contamination intensity in Cambodia combined with individual survey data to evaluate the long run cost of Cambodia's 30 years war (1970-1998) on education levels and earnings. These effects are identified using difference-in-differences (DD) and instrumental variables (IV) estimators. In the DD framework I exploit two sources of variation in an individual's exposure to the conflict: her age in 1970 and landmine contamination intensity in her district of residence. The IV specification uses an indicator of distance to the Thai border-average district fluency in Thai- as an exogenous source of variation in landmine contamination intensity. I show that young individuals who had not yet attended school before 1970 received less education (relative to the older cohort) and this effect was higher in regions where conflict has been more intense. However, immediately after the war there are no visible effects on earnings. I argue that the destruction of physical capital is the major factor that drives down the returns to education in Cambodia post-war.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W06/11.

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Length: 17 pp.
Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:06/11

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  1. Pitt, Mark M & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Gibbons, Donna M, 1993. "The Determinants and Consequences of the Placement of Government Programs in Indonesia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 7(3), pages 319-48, September.
  2. Abadie, Alberto & Gardeazabal, Javier, 2001. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case-Control Study for the Basque Country," Working Paper Series rwp01-048, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Guidolin, Massimo & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2004. "Diamonds are Forever, Wars are Not: Is Conflict Bad for Private Firms?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Andrea Ichino & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2004. "The Long-Run Educational Cost of World War II," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 57-86, January.
  5. Ouarda Merrouche, 2006. "Economic Consequences of Wars: Evidence from Landmine Contamination in Mozambique," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/22, European University Institute.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Duflo, Esther, 2005. "Growth Theory through the Lens of Development Economics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 473-552 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Prakarsh Singh & Olga N. Shemyakina, 2013. "Gender-Differential Effects of Conflict on Education: The Case of the 1981-1993 Punjab Insurgency," HiCN Working Papers 143, Households in Conflict Network.

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