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Seeds of Distrust: Conflict in Uganda


Rohner, Dominic; Thoenig, Mathias; Zilibotti, Fabrizio (2011). Seeds of Distrust: Conflict in Uganda. Working paper series / Department of Economics No. 54, University of Zurich.

Abstract

We study the effect of civil conflict on social capital, focusing on the experience of Uganda during the last decade. Using individual and county-level data, we document causal effects on trust and ethnic identity of an exogenous outburst of ethnic conflicts in 2002-04. We exploit two waves of survey data from Afrobarometer 2000 and 2008, including information on socioeconomic characteristics at the individual level, and geo-referenced measures of fighting events from ACLED. Our identification strategy exploits variations in the intensity of fighting both in the spatial and cross-ethnic dimensions. We find that more intense fighting decreases generalized trust and increases ethnic identity. The effects are quantitatively large and robust to a number of control variables, alternative measures of violence, and different statistical techniques involving ethnic and county fixed effects and instrumental variables. We also document that the post-war effects of ethnic violence depend on the ethnic fractionalization. Fighting has a negative effect on the economic situation in highly fractionalized counties, but has no effect in less fractionalized counties. Our findings are consistent with the existence of a self-reinforcing process between conflicts and ethnic cleavages.

We study the effect of civil conflict on social capital, focusing on the experience of Uganda during the last decade. Using individual and county-level data, we document causal effects on trust and ethnic identity of an exogenous outburst of ethnic conflicts in 2002-04. We exploit two waves of survey data from Afrobarometer 2000 and 2008, including information on socioeconomic characteristics at the individual level, and geo-referenced measures of fighting events from ACLED. Our identification strategy exploits variations in the intensity of fighting both in the spatial and cross-ethnic dimensions. We find that more intense fighting decreases generalized trust and increases ethnic identity. The effects are quantitatively large and robust to a number of control variables, alternative measures of violence, and different statistical techniques involving ethnic and county fixed effects and instrumental variables. We also document that the post-war effects of ethnic violence depend on the ethnic fractionalization. Fighting has a negative effect on the economic situation in highly fractionalized counties, but has no effect in less fractionalized counties. Our findings are consistent with the existence of a self-reinforcing process between conflicts and ethnic cleavages.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D74, O12, Z1
Uncontrolled Keywords:Conflict, Trust, Ethnic Fighting, Uganda, Social Capital, Identity
Language:English
Date:December 2011
Deposited On:20 Dec 2011 16:09
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:17
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:47
ISSN:1664-7041 (P) 1664-705X (E)
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp054.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-53572

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