Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Educational Impact of Civil Conflict: The Schooling Effect of Paramilitary Violence in Colombia

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 4:10 PM
Johnson I (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Monica Hernandez, University of Michigan
Contrary to what intuition would suggest, oil price booms could have null or even negative effects on educational attainment. This paper explores violence as one driving force behind these results, in the context of a long standing civil conflict in Colombia. The article proposes that oil price booms fuel violence, which could undermine any plausible positive effect of higher oil resources on school enrollment. To assess how oil price shocks affect educational outcomes, this paper exploits exogenous price shocks in international oil markets and rich geographic variation in oil production. The estimates suggest that the rise in oil prices between 1998 and 2005 had limited effects on years of schooling and on whether children are behind grade for their age. Moreover, the evidence suggests that oil price booms had small but surprising negative effects on primary school enrollment. These results seem to be explained by the fact that the additional oil resources were invested in social sectors different than education, and by oil price booms fueling the civil conflict in Colombia. Indeed, it is found that instead of improving education, the higher oil revenue gave incentives to illegal right wing paramilitary groups to steal oil resources, resulting in a 8% increase in paramilitary violence in oil municipalities. 

Full Paper: