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The Persistent Effect of Exposure to Civil Conflict on Political Beliefs and Participation: Evidence from the Peruvian Civil War


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Master project by Benjamin Anderson and Ramiro Antonio Burga. Barcelona GSE Master's in Economics of Public Policy

Published in: Economy & Finance
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The Persistent Effect of Exposure to Civil Conflict on Political Beliefs and Participation: Evidence from the Peruvian Civil War

  2. 2. Contents 1. Aims and Motivation 2. Relevant Literature 3. Hypotheses 4. Historical Overview 5. Data Description 6. Identification Mechanism 7. Assumptions & Threats to Identification 8. Results 9. Specific Comments 10. Extensions 2
  3. 3. Aims & Motivation ◻ Political beliefs of citizens have broad implications as to the effects on society ◻ Preferences of voters heavily influence policy-making processes and even the institutional framework ◻ Conflict is prevalent and recurring in many parts of the world ◻ Relatively little is known about the effects of conflict on citizens’ political beliefs and participation compared to other outcomes such as human capital and labor market ◻ Undesirable effects on political beliefs of conflict exposed citizens can negatively impact social welfare 3
  4. 4. Relevant Literature ◻ People exposed to conflict are highly resilient in political beliefs and tend to recover in the long-run; only in voting turnout is a very slight increase detected (Adhvaryu and Fenske, 2014) ◻ Exposure to ethnic conflict slightly increases political participation (Bellows & Miguel, 2009; Blattman, 2009) ◻ Exposure to the Peruvian civil conflict has been shown to decrease human capital (Leon, 2012) → Lower education is associated with lower political participation ◻ Exposure to conflict in Peru also has negative effects on labor market outcomes and domestic violence (Galdo, 2010) ◻ Early-life trauma and macroeconomic shocks have been shown to increase individuals’ risk aversion in the long-run (Kim and Lee, 2012; Moya, 2012) ◻ Exposure to violence → lower generalized trust (Jaeger and Paserman, 2008; Rohner et al., 2013) 4
  5. 5. Historical Overview ◻ Cause → “status inconsistency” (CVR, 2004) ◻ Geographic and temporal variation 1980-1993 ◻ Main perpetrators: PCP-SL; Peruvian State ◻ Guerrilla strategy → move from highlands toward the ultimate target, Lima ◻ ~0.31% of pop. killed ◻ ~75% of provinces 5
  6. 6. Data Description ◻ ENAHO (Encuesta Nacional de Hogares): ◻ We used the 2007-2014 waves of this nationally-representative sample of households and individuals. ◻ It includes: (i) current demographic and socioeconomic information, (ii) citizens’ opinions regarding government institutions, (iii) civil rights issues, (iv) democracy, (v) voting actions and (vi) civic participation. ◻ CVR (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) ◻ The CVR information comes from the reconstruction of violent acts that took place between 1980 and 2000. ◻ Each act of violence attributable to the civil conflict was coded as an event in a given space and time ◻ In total, the CVR recorded more than 36,000 violent acts in its database. ◻ District and date of birth obtained from ENAHO is linked to civil conflict data. We limit our analysis to individuals over the age of 18 and that were born after 1955. 6
  7. 7. Data Description ◻ Outcomes: ◻ (i) Distrust of government institutions; (ii) negative opinions about democracy; (iii) negative opinions about civil rights; (iv) voting turnout and submission of blank ballots; and (v) participation in civic organizations. ◻ Distrust index: sums the number of government institutions in which the respondent indicates he/she has little or no trust (from 0 to 16). ◻ Democracy: sums the number of responses indicating a negative opinion toward democracy (from 0 to 3). ◻ Civil rights: number of responses in this category indicating a lack of regard for civil rights (from 0 to 4). ◻ Civic Participation: participation in political party, union or community group. ◻ Exposure to violence: ◻ Years of exposure to violence in one’s district during different sensitive stages of life for an individual: -1-3 years old, 4-6 years old, 7-12 years old and 13-17.
  8. 8. Data Description Table 1: Exposure to violent We will focus our analysis on individual who are still leaving in the same states where they were born.
  9. 9. Data Description 9 ◻ Fixed effects at district and year of birth levels are included. ◻ Clustered standard error at district level Table 2: Mean comparison Tests
  10. 10. Identification Mechanism ◻ i: Individual, t:year of birth, r: district, p: province, T: wave, s: stages. ◻ βs is the average effect of exposure for an individual who experiences conflict during period s. ◻ δr control for specific differences across districts which are time-invariant. ◻ πt control for any common shock that affect respondents of the same age similarly. ◻ Trendp control for the province-specific divergences over time. ◻ ⍴T control for any common shock that affect respondents in the same wave similarly ◻ The standard errors are clustered at the district level to deal with the geographic and temporal correlation in the error terms. ◻ What this strategy does is comparing different cohorts within districts and comparing them with other districts that were exposed to different levels of violence. 10
  11. 11. Assumptions 1. Conditional Independence: After controlling for the fixed effects and the province trends, the error is orthogonal to the exposure. This could be sustained if: a. Cohorts’ differences in outcomes across many districts are not significant (parallel trends) in years previous to the conflict. b. The predetermined characteristics of the population settled in a district are similar in violent and nonviolent years compared with other districts. Leon (2012) tests this using census data and shows no significant differences in demographics (cohort sizes, age, gender, migration, asset index, etc.) 2. Effect of our exposure variables is separable. 3. Effect of exposure varies based on sensitive stages of life. 11
  12. 12. Threats to Identification 1. Sample selection due to underreporting of victims. a. Direction unclear b. Most likely, attenuation 2. Migration a. Direction unclear; positive vs. negative selection into migration b. It does not seem to be the case that people who migrate are different from the ones who stay (Leon, 2012) 3. Previous research suggests education, HH expenditure, may be endogenous to exposure (Leon, 2012; Galdo, 2010) 12
  13. 13. Results 13 ◻ Specification 1: ind. were born after 1955. ◻ Specification 2: ind. were born after 1975. ◻ We only find effects in both specifications for Democracy and Civic participation. Table 3: Main results
  14. 14. Results 14 Table 3: Main results (continue)
  15. 15. Robustness 15 Table 4: Restricting the number of waves
  16. 16. Robustness 16 ◻ Columns (1) and (2) includes one additional variables of exposure: 18- 25 years old. ◻ Columns (3) and (4) have number of violent acts in logs. ◻ In both specification, the significance of the exposure variables is kept. Table 5
  17. 17. Specific Comments 1. Further Research and Robustness of Results a. Analyze violence by type b. Violence by perpetrator c. Allow effect of exposure to vary by year d. Assign exposure by month of violent act to reduce measurement error in assignment e. Usage of actual voting records to eliminate reporting bias (preferably referendums and local elections) 2. External Validity a. Conflicts with different motivations (e.g. political, resource, ethnic, etc.), perpetrators (State, rebel groups, gangs, etc.), violent tactics (murder, torture, landmines, forced labor, etc.) → likely different outcomes in PBP b. Does the initial situation matter (i.e. poor vs. middle income country, democratic vs. autocracy, country education level, etc.) 17
  18. 18. Extensions 1. Persistent effects of exposure to conflict on political beliefs and participation may be limited 2. Due to the various sources of downward / attenuation bias, our results should be interpreted as lower bounds 3. We increase support suggesting that people who are exposed to conflict are resilient in their political beliefs and participation 4. Future research should follow up on the true magnitude of these effects and the temporal persistence in the short and long-run (i.e. severity of effects might be quite large in the short-run 5. Inter-generational effects, hereditary transmission 6. Channels through which these changes occur (erosion of trust, risk attitudes, etc.) 7. Mechanisms to facilitate the healing process of affected citizens 18
  19. 19. 19 Thesis Presentation
  20. 20. Appendix 20 Table 6: Including all the individuals
  21. 21. Appendix
  22. 22. Appendix