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Measure for Measure: How Well Do We Measure Micro-level Conflict Intensity?

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  • Verpoorten, Marijke

Abstract

Rich measures of micro-level violent conflict intensity are key for successfully providing insight into the legacy of civil war. Yet, the debate on how exactly conflict intensity should be measured has just started. This paper aims to fuel this awakening debate. It is demonstrated how existing and widely available data - population census data - can provide the basis for a useful measure of micro-level conflict intensity: a fine Wartime Excess Mortality Index (WEMI). It is argued that the proposed measure is particularly well suited for studying the legacy of civil wars that are characterized by a large death toll and by different forms of violence. The measure is illustrated for the case of Rwanda and it is shown that, in a straightforward empirical application of the impact of armed conflict on schooling, the estimated impact varies widely across WEMI and a large set of alternative conflict intensity measures for Rwanda. While the conflict intensity measure proposed in this paper requires further study and one probably needs a combination of various methodologies, this finding suggests the need for a careful understanding of what underlies the different measures and methodologies in use.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) in its series IOB Working Papers with number 2011.08.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iob:wpaper:2011008

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  1. Gianmarco Leon, 2010. "Civil Conflict and Human Capital Accumulation: The Long Term Effects of Political Violence in Perú," Working Papers id:2505, eSocialSciences.
  2. Tom Bundervoet & Philip Verwimp & Richard Akresh, 2009. "Health and Civil War in Rural Burundi," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  3. Li, Baibing & Martin, Elaine B. & Morris, A. Julian, 2002. "On principal component analysis in L1," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 471-474, September.
  4. de Walque, Damien, 2004. "The long-term legacy of the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3446, The World Bank.
  5. Miguel, Edward & Roland, Gérard, 2011. "The long-run impact of bombing Vietnam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 1-15, September.
  6. Deininger, Klaus, 2003. "Causes and consequences of civil strife - micro-level evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3045, The World Bank.
  7. Tilman Brück & Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp & Alexandra Avdeenko, 2010. "Identifying Conflict and Violence in Micro-Level Surveys," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 38, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp, 2008. "Poverty Dynamics, Violent Conflict and Convergence in Rwanda," Research Working Papers 4, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
  9. Marijke verpoorten, 2010. "Detecting Hidden Violence: The Spatial Distribution of Excess Mortality in Rwanda," LICOS Discussion Papers 25410, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  10. Olga Shemyakina, 2006. "The Effect of Armed Conflict on Accumulation of Schooling: Results from Tajikistan," HiCN Working Papers 12, Households in Conflict Network.
  11. Tom Bundervoet, 2006. "Livestock, Activity Choices and Conflict: Evidence from Burundi," HiCN Working Papers 24, Households in Conflict Network.
  12. María A. González & Rigoberto A. Lopez, 2007. "Political Violence and Farm Household Efficiency in Colombia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 367-392.
  13. Philip Verwimp & Jan Van Bavel, 2004. "Child Survival and the Fertility of Refugees in Rwanda after the Genocide," PRUS Working Papers 26, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
  14. Gianmarco León, 2012. "Civil Conflict and Human Capital Accumulation: The Long-term Effects of Political Violence in Perú," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 991-1022.
  15. Marijke Verpoorten, 2005. "The Death Toll of the Rwandan Genocide: A Detailed Analysis for Gikongoro Province," Population (english edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 60(4), pages 331-367.
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Cited by:
  1. Serneels , Pieter & Verpoorten , Marijke, 2012. "The impact of armed conflict on economic performance. Evidence from Rwanda," NEPS Working Papers 5/2012, Network of European Peace Scientists.
  2. Tilman Brück & Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp & Andrew Tedesco, 2013. "Measuring Conflict Exposure in Micro-Level Surveys," HiCN Working Papers 153, Households in Conflict Network.

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