On War and Schooling Attainment: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The subject of civil war has received significant attention in recent years, due to numerous episodes of intrastate armed conflict around the world. However, more work remains to be done in quantifying the effects of civil wars on the welfare of individuals, as well as in uncovering the precise mechanisms through which the relationship operates. This study uses a unique data set that contains information on war casualties of the Bosnian War 1992 1995 at the municipality level, and exploits the variation in war intensity and birth cohorts of children, to identify the effects of the civil war on the schooling attainment of children. I find that individuals in the cohorts affected by war are less likely to complete secondary schooling, if they resided in municipalities that endured higher levels of war intensity. In addition, I find no significant effects of war on the completion of primary schooling. Ancillary evidence suggests that my estimates are most likely picking up immediate, rather than long-term effects. Furthermore, direct mechanisms such as the destruction of infrastructure and the out-migration of teachers do not seem to matter; instead, youth soldiering may be a key mechanism.
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