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Measure for Measure: How Well Do We Measure Micro-Level Conflict Intensity?

  • Marijke Verpoorten

Rich measures of micro-level violent intensity are jey for succesfully providing insight into the legacy of civil war. Yet, the debate on how exactly conflict intensity should be measured has just started. This paper aims to fuel this awakening debate. It is demonstrated how existing and widely available data - population census data - can provide the basis for a useful measure of micro-level conflict intenisty, i.e. a fine Wartime Excess Mortality Index (WEMI). In contrast to measures that are based on news reports or data from transitional justice records, WEMI is relatively neutral to the cause of excess mortality, giving equal weight to victims belonging to the conquering and defeated party, to victims of large-scale massacres and dispersed killings, to victims of violence. The measure is illustrated for the case of Rwanda and it is shown that in a straightforward empirical application of the impact of armed conflict on schooling different measures for micro-level conflict intensity yield strikingly different results.

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Paper provided by LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven in its series LICOS Discussion Papers with number 27511.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:27511
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  1. Gonzalez, Maria A & Lopez, Rigoberto A, 2007. "Political Violence and Farm Household Efficiency in Colombia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 367-92, January.
  2. Tom Bundervoet & Philip Verwimp & Richard Akresh, 2009. "Health and Civil War in Rural Burundi," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  3. Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp, 2013. "Poverty Dynamics, Violent Conflict, and Convergence in R wanda," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(1), pages 66-90, 03.
  4. Marijke verpoorten, 2010. "Detecting Hidden Violence: The Spatial Distribution of Excess Mortality in Rwanda," LICOS Discussion Papers 25410, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  5. Edward Miguel & Gerard Roland, 2006. "The Long Run Impact of Bombing Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 11954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marijke Verpoorten, 2010. "The intensity of the Rwandan genocide: Fine measures from the gacaca records," LICOS Discussion Papers 25610, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  7. Tilman Brück & Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp & Alexandra Avdeenko, 2010. "Identifying Conflict and Violence in Micro-Level Surveys," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 38, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Philip Verwimp & Jan Van Bavel, 2004. "Child Survival and the Fertility of Refugees in Rwanda after the Genocide," PRUS Working Papers 26, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
  9. Li, Baibing & Martin, Elaine B. & Morris, A. Julian, 2002. "On principal component analysis in L1," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 471-474, September.
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  11. de Walque, Damien, 2004. "The long-term legacy of the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3446, The World Bank.
  12. 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.
  13. Gianmarco León, 2012. "Civil conflict and human capital accumulation: The long-term effects of political violence in Perú," Economics Working Papers 1333, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  14. Kevin E. Davis (ed.), 2010. "Institutions and Economic Performance," Books, Edward Elgar, number 3467, December.
  15. Rubiana Chamarbagwala & Hilcías E. Morán, 2009. "The Human Capital Consequences of Civil War: Evidence from Guatemala," HiCN Working Papers 59, Households in Conflict Network.
  16. Tom Bundervoet, 2006. "Livestock, Activity Choices and Conflict: Evidence from Burundi," HiCN Working Papers 24, Households in Conflict Network.
  17. Deininger, Klaus, 2003. "Causes and consequences of civil strife - micro-level evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3045, The World Bank.
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