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A Discrete Choice Approach to Estimating Armed Conflicts' Casualties: Revisiting the Numbers of a 'Truth Commission'

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  • Rendon, Silvio

    ()
    (Stony Brook University)

Abstract

I discuss the application of capture-recapture methods to estimating the total number of deaths in armed conflicts, and propose an alternative method based on a trivariate discrete choice model. Data come from the 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission' (TRC) of Peru, around 25000 deaths, classified by three sources of information, geographical strata, and perpetrator: the State and the Shining Path. In these data many killings have been only documented by one source, which makes a projection of killings unfeasible. TRC consultants Ball et al. (2003) tried to overcome this problem by means of a 'residual estimation,' consisting of merging data for different perpetrators. I show theoretically and empirically that this method over-estimates the number of deaths. Using a conditional trivariate Probit I estimate the total number of deaths in around 28000, 60% by the State, 40% by the Shining Path. This number is substantially lower and has a different composition than the around 69000 deaths, 30% by the State, 46% by the Shining Path, and 24% by 'other perpetrators,' calculated by Ball et al.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6827.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6827

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Keywords: armed conflict; capture-recapture; count data; discrete choice; human rights; maximum-likelihood estimation; Poisson regression;

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  1. Jose Galdo, 2013. "The Long-Run Labor-Market Consequences of Civil War: Evidence from the Shining Path in Peru," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(4), pages 789 - 823.
  2. Gianmarco Leon, 2010. "Civil Conflict and Human Capital Accumulation: The Long Term Effects of Political Violence in Perú," Working Papers id:2505, eSocialSciences.
  3. Sonia Laszlo & Franque Grimard, 2010. "Long Term Effects Of Civil Conflict On Women'S Health Outcomes In Peru," Departmental Working Papers 2010-05, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  4. Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2007. "Discrimination in the Warplace: Evidence from a Civil War in Peru," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2007-10, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
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