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STICERD Work in Progress Seminars

The long-run consequences of war in Sierra Leone

Tillman Hoenig (LSE)

Friday 17 May 2019 13:00 - 14:00

Due to the onging coronavirus outbreak, many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as online seminars. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

About this event

This study investigates the long-run consequences of the civil war in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002. Using an instrumental variable strategy with geographic instruments arising as a result of the specific characteristics of the war, I study the effects on a variety of economic outcomes. In this way, I contribute evidence to a mixed set of results exploring whether there is convergence to a no-war counterfactual in the long run after a war or not. I find that Sierra Leoneans living in areas that are highly affected by the war are far from achieving convergence ten years after the war ended. Substantial reductions in assets and household expenditures suggest that their overall economic situation is much worse than it would have been without the civil war. In particular, there seems to be a shift in the type of work they do. Households that were heavily affected by conflict are considerably less likely to work in formal wage employment and operate their own enterprise, albeit reporting higher income when their business manages to survive or is re-established. By contrast, agricultural activity is increased in high conflict areas, both at the extensive and intensive margin. This sectoral shift which is induced by the civil war and persists ten years later is in line with Collier’s view of civil war as “development in reverse”.