Nov 22, 2011

The effect of the civil war on human capital in Guatemala

This very interesting new paper by Chamarbagwala and Moran published in the Journal of Development Economics  claims:

We combine data from the 2002 National Population Census and the distribu- tion of the number of human rights violations and victims across 22 departments to examine how Guatemala’s 36-year-long civil war affected human capital accu- mulation. The year of birth and the department of birth jointly determine an individual’s exposure during school age to three different periods of the civil war, namely the initial period (1960-1978), the worst period (1979-1984), and the fi- nal period (1985-1996). We find a strong negative impact of the civil war on the education of the two most disadvantaged groups, namely rural Mayan males and females. Among rural Mayan males, those who were school age during the three periods of the civil war in departments where more human rights violations were committed completed 0.27, 0.71, and 1.09 years less of schooling respectively whereas rural Mayan females exposed to the three periods of the war completed 0.12, 0.47, and 1.17 years less of schooling respectively. Given an average of 4.66 and 3.83 years of schooling for males and females, these represent declines of 6, 15, and 23 percent for males and 3, 12, and 30 percent for females. Our results are robust to the inclusion of indicators for department of residence, year of birth, and controls for different trends in education and human development in war affected and peaceful departments of Guatemala and suggest that the country’s civil war may have deepened gender, regional, sectoral, and ethnic disparities in schooling.

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