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The human capital consequences of civil war: Evidence from Guatemala

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  • Chamarbagwala, Rubiana
  • Morán, Hilcías E.

Abstract

We combine data from the 2002 National Population Census and the distribution of the number of human rights violations and victims across 22 departments to examine how Guatemala's 36-year-long civil war affected human capital accumulation. The year of birth and the department of birth jointly determine an individual's exposure during school age to three different periods of the civil war, namely the initial period (1960-1978), the worst period (1979-1984), and the final period (1985-1996). We find a strong negative impact of the civil war on the education of the two most disadvantaged groups, namely rural Mayan males and females. Among rural Mayan males, those who were school age during the three periods of the civil war in departments where more human rights violations were committed completed 0.27, 0.71, and 1.09Â years less of schooling respectively whereas rural Mayan females exposed to the three periods of the war completed 0.12, 0.47, and 1.17Â years less of schooling respectively. Given an average of 4.66 and 3.83Â years of schooling for males and females, these represent declines of 6, 15, and 23% for males and 3, 12, and 30% for females. Our results are robust to the inclusion of indicators for department of residence, year of birth, and controls for different trends in education and human development in war-affected and peaceful departments of Guatemala and suggest that the country's civil war may have deepened gender, regional, sectoral, and ethnic disparities in schooling.

Suggested Citation

  • Chamarbagwala, Rubiana & Morán, Hilcías E., 2011. "The human capital consequences of civil war: Evidence from Guatemala," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 41-61, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:94:y:2011:i:1:p:41-61
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