Edited by Graham K. Brown and Arnim Langer
Chapter 13: Violent conflict and human capital accumulation
Violent conflict is one of the most important development challenges facing the world today. Although the incidence of civil wars has decreased in recent years (Harbom and Wallensteen 2009), the legacy of violence persists across many countries around the world, especially in Africa, Caucasia, the Balkans, and the Middle East. The economic, political and social consequences of civil wars are immense. War displaces people, destroys capital and infrastructure, disrupts schooling, damages the social fabric, endangers civil liberties, and creates health and famine crises. Almost 750,000 people die as a result of armed conflict each year (Geneva Declaration Secretariat 2008), and more than 20 million people were internally displaced by civil wars at the end of 2007. Any of these effects will have considerable consequences for long-term development outcomes. Yet while there is a growing consensus that development interventions and the promotion of democracy worldwide cannot be disassociated from the restrictions caused by violent conflict, we have limited rigorous evidence on how violent conflict affects development outcomes, the economy or the lives of people exposed to violence. One fundamental mechanism by which violent conflict may aff ect long-term development outcomes is through the accumulation of human capital, a central mechanism in economic growth and development processes (Galor and Weil 2000; Lucas 1988, 2002; Schultz 1961). The objective of this chapter is to review the available evidence on one important micro-level mechanism linking civil wars and long-term development outcomes, namely the level and access to education of civilian and combatant populations affected by violence.
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