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Measuring the Economic Impact of Civil War

  • Kosuke Imai
  • Jeremy M. Weinstein
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    Civil wars impose substantial costs on the domestic economy. We empirically measure the economic impact of such internal wars. The paper contributes to the existing literature both theoretically and methodologically. First, it explores the economic channels through which civil war affects growth. Previous studies have shown the negative growth effects of civil wars. We go a step further by identifying the channels through which war strips a country of its growth potential. Our argument is that civil war negatively impacts private investment through the process of portfolio substitution. Methodologically, the paper improves on both the data and statistical models used in the existing literature. Our data set includes better measurements of the intensity and scope of civil war as well as new economic and political data for the 1990s. Moreover, using a multiple imputation technique, we minimize the estimation bias due to missing data. Finally, to improve the model, we apply fixed and random effects models to the panel data. The evidence gives strong support to our argument indicating that the driving force behind the negative effects of civil war on economic growth is a decrease in private investment.

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    File URL: http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidwp/pdf/051.pdf
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    Paper provided by Center for International Development at Harvard University in its series CID Working Papers with number 51.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:cidhav:51
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for International Development at Harvard University (CID). 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
    Fax: 617-496-2554
    Web page: http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidwp/
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    1. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    2. Knight, Malcolm & Loayza, Norman & Villanueva, Delano, 1996. "The peace dividend : military spending cuts and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1577, The World Bank.
    3. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
    4. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
    5. Sebastian Edwards & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "Explaining Fiscal Policies and Inflation in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 3493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    7. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
    8. Stanley Fischer, 1993. "The Role of Macroeconomic Factors in Growth," NBER Working Papers 4565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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