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Measuring the Economic Impact of Civil War

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  • Kosuke Imai
  • Jeremy M. Weinstein
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    Abstract

    Civil wars impose substantial costs on the domestic economy. We empirically measure the economic impact of such internal wars. The paper contributes to the existing literature both theoretically and methodologically. First, it explores the economic channels through which civil war affects growth. Previous studies have shown the negative growth effects of civil wars. We go a step further by identifying the channels through which war strips a country of its growth potential. Our argument is that civil war negatively impacts private investment through the process of portfolio substitution. Methodologically, the paper improves on both the data and statistical models used in the existing literature. Our data set includes better measurements of the intensity and scope of civil war as well as new economic and political data for the 1990s. Moreover, using a multiple imputation technique, we minimize the estimation bias due to missing data. Finally, to improve the model, we apply fixed and random effects models to the panel data. The evidence gives strong support to our argument indicating that the driving force behind the negative effects of civil war on economic growth is a decrease in private investment.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for International Development at Harvard University in its series CID Working Papers with number 51.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:cidhav:51

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    Keywords: civil war; instability; economic growth; investment; fiscal balance;

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    1. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 403-14, July.
    2. Malcolm Knight & Norman Loayza & Delano Villanueva, 1996. "The Peace Dividend: Military Spending Cuts and Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(1), pages 1-37, March.
    3. Stanley Fischer, 1993. "The Role of Macroeconomic Factors in Growth," NBER Working Papers 4565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
    5. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
    6. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
    7. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "Explaining fiscal policies and inflation in developing countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1, Supple), pages S16-S48, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Carlos Bozzoli & Tilman Brück & Tony Muhumuza, 2011. "Activity Choices of Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees: Quantitative Survey Evidence from Post-War Northern Uganda," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1134, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Klapper, Leora & Richmond, Christine & Tran, Trang, 2013. "Civil conflict and firm performance : evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6640, The World Bank.
    3. Romain Houssa & Oleg Badunenko & Daniel J. Henderson, 2010. "Explaining African Growth Performance: A Production-Frontier Approach," Working Papers 1013, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    4. Nicholas Staines, 2004. "Economic Performance Over the Conflict Cycle," IMF Working Papers 04/95, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Catherine Norman, 2009. "Rule of Law and the Resource Curse: Abundance Versus Intensity," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(2), pages 183-207, June.
    6. Strobl, Eric, 2012. "The economic growth impact of natural disasters in developing countries: Evidence from hurricane strikes in the Central American and Caribbean regions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 130-141.
    7. Klaus Friesenbichler, 2013. "Firm Growth in Conflict Countries: Some Evidence from South Asia," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 3, pages 33-44, May.
    8. Arias Andrés F. & Laura Ardila, 2003. "Military Expenditure and Economic Activity: The Colombian Case," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

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