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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - The Journal of Development Studies
Title The long term educational cost of war: Evidence from landmine contamination in Cambodia
Volume 47
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 399-416
URL https://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0611.pdf
The economic impact of war may be visible in the long run and particularly its impact
on human capital. I use unique district level data on landmine contamination intensity
in Cambodia combined with individual survey data to evaluate the long run cost of
Cambodia’s 30 years war (1970-1998) on education levels and earnings. 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 and landmine contamination intensity in her district of residence.
The IV specification uses an indicator of distance to the Thai border-average district
fluency in Thai- as an exogenous source of variation in landmine contamination intensity.
I show that young individuals who had not yet attended school before 1970 received less
education (relative to the older cohort) and this effect was higher in regions where conflict
has been more intense. However, immediately after the war there are no visible effects on
earnings. I argue that the destruction of physical capital is the major factor that drives
down the returns to education in Cambodia post-war.

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