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The Human Capital Cost of Landmine Contamination in Cambodia

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  • Ouarda Merrouche

    () (European University Institute)

Abstract

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines production and use estimates that there are more than 80 billion landmines in the ground in more than 80 countries. Despite the scale of the problem and large investments by OECD countries to clear mines in low income countries, the economic consequences of landmine contamination have been so far unexamined by economists working on the economics of wars, perhaps due to the lack of data thus far. Using unique data from Cambodia, this paper estimates the effect of landmine contamination on human capital. These effects are identified using difference-in-differences (DD) and instrumental variables (IV) estimators. In the DD framework I exploit two sources of variation in an individual’s exposure to the conflict: her age in 1970 due to the spread of landmines over time and landmine contamination intensity in her district of birth. The IV specification uses the distance to the Thai border as an exogenous source of variation in landmine contamination intensity. The IV estimate indicates a education loss of 0.4 years at the mean and no visible effect on earnings. I discuss three factors that probably drive down the returns to education in post-war Cambodia: (1) The downgrading of educated people during the Khmer rouge regime (2) Direct Effects of landmines on the returns to education (3) the destruction of physical capital and technological delay through capital-skill complementarity.

Suggested Citation

  • Ouarda Merrouche, 2006. "The Human Capital Cost of Landmine Contamination in Cambodia," HiCN Working Papers 25, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:25
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    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shemyakina, Olga, 2011. "The effect of armed conflict on accumulation of schooling: Results from Tajikistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 186-200, July.
    2. Philip Verwimp & Jan Van Bavel, 2014. "Schooling, Violent Conflict, and Gender in Burundi," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(2), pages 384-411.
    3. Patricia Justino, 2011. "Violent Conflict and Human Capital Accumulation," HiCN Working Papers 99, Households in Conflict Network.
    4. Patricia Justino & Marinella Leone & Paola Salardi, 2011. "Education and Conflict Recovery: The Case of Timor Leste," HiCN Working Papers 100, Households in Conflict Network.
    5. Dabalen, Andrew L. & Paul, Saumik, 2012. "Estimating the causal effects of conflict on education in Côte d'Ivoire," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6077, The World Bank.
    6. Gómez Soler, Silvia C., 2016. "Educational achievement at schools: Assessing the effect of the civil conflict using a pseudo-panel of schools," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 91-106.
    7. Olga N. Shemyakina, 2011. "Labour Market, Education and Armed Conflict in Tajikistan," HiCN Working Papers 106, Households in Conflict Network.
    8. Margarita Pivovarova & Eik Leong Swee, 2012. "Quantifying the Microeconomic Effects of War: How Much Can Panel Data Help?," HiCN Working Papers 116, Households in Conflict Network.
    9. Shemyakina, Olga N., 2011. "The labor market, education and armed conflict in Tajikistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5738, The World Bank.
    10. Patricia Justino, 2012. "Nutrition, Governance and Violence: A Framework for the Analysis of Resilience and Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in Contexts of Violent Conflict," HiCN Working Papers 132, Households in Conflict Network.
    11. Andrew L. Dabaleno & Saumik Paul, 2012. "Estimating the Causal Effects of War on Education in Côte D’Ivoire," HiCN Working Papers 120, Households in Conflict Network.

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