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The Cost of Fear: The Welfare Effects of the Risk of Violence in Northern Uganda

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  • Marc Rockmore

    () (Cornell University)

Abstract

The micro-conflict literature focuses almost exclusively on direct exposure to violence and post-conflict outcomes. By focusing only on directly exposed households, the literature ignores the effects of risk on households in surrounding areas. This paper presents the first estimates of the economic costs of the risk of violence separate from the costs of the actual experience of violence, and finds that it is a significant mechanism by which conflict influences development. Using representative community and household data from Northern Uganda, I estimate measures of objective and subjective risk using geo-spatial variation in the distribution of violence over time. On average, the risk of violence lowers per capita household expenditure by 2 to 6 percent. Even within households that are attacked, risk alone accounts for a significant share, between 17 and 38 percent, of their losses. On aggregate, half of conflict-related losses are due to risk as opposed to direct exposure to violence, with much of these risk-related losses in households that are not directly attacked. Compounding these losses over the duration of the conflict, the risk of violence has reduced per capita expenditure in the affected region by roughly 70 percent and national GDP by 4.6 to 8.2 percent. Lastly, I find that food aid reduces risk-related losses by 17 to 30 percent.

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  • Marc Rockmore, 2011. "The Cost of Fear: The Welfare Effects of the Risk of Violence in Northern Uganda," HiCN Working Papers 109, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:109
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana María Ibañez Londoño & Juan Carlos Muñoz Mora & Philip Verwimp, 2013. "Abandoning Coffee under the Threat of Violence and the Presence of Illicit Crops. Evidence from Colombia," HiCN Working Papers 150, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Singhal, Saurabh & Nilakantan, Rahul, 2016. "The economic effects of a counterinsurgency policy in India: A synthetic control analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 1-17.
    3. María Alejandra Arias & Ana María Ibáñez & Andres Zambrano, 2017. "Agricultural Production Amid Conflict: Separating the Effects of Conflict into Shocks and Uncertainty," HiCN Working Papers 245, Households in Conflict Network.
    4. Kevin M. Morrison & Marc Rockmore, 2016. "Fear and Political Participation: Evidence from Africa," HiCN Working Papers 226, Households in Conflict Network.
    5. María Alejandra Arias & Ana María Ibáñez & Andrés Zambrano, 2014. "Agricultural Production Amid Conflict: The Effects of Shocks, Uncertainty, and Governance of Non-State Armed Actors," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011005, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    6. Verteramo Chiu, Leslie J. & Turvey, Calum G., 2015. "Perception and Action in a Conflict Zone: a Study of Rural Economy and Rural Life amidst Narcos in Northeastern Mexico," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205447, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    7. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske, 2014. "Conflict and the Formation of Political Beliefs in Africa," HiCN Working Papers 164, Households in Conflict Network.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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