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Seeds of distrust: conflict in Uganda


Rohner, Dominic; Thoenig, Mathias; Zilibotti, Fabrizio (2013). Seeds of distrust: conflict in Uganda. Journal of Economic Growth, 18(3):217-252.

Abstract

We study the effect of civil conflict on social capital, focusing on Uganda’s experience during the last decade. Using individual and county-­level data, we document large causal effects on trust and ethnic identity of an exogenous outburst of ethnic conflicts in 2002–2005. We exploit two waves of survey data from Afrobarometer (Round 4 Afrobarometer Survey in Uganda, 2000, 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 both the spatial and ethnic intensity of fighting. 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 spatial fixed effects and instrumental variables. Controlling for the intensity of violence during the conflict, we also document that post-­conflict economic recovery is slower in ethnically fractionalized counties. Our findings are consistent with the existence of a self-reinforcing process between conflicts and ethnic cleavages.

Abstract

We study the effect of civil conflict on social capital, focusing on Uganda’s experience during the last decade. Using individual and county-­level data, we document large causal effects on trust and ethnic identity of an exogenous outburst of ethnic conflicts in 2002–2005. We exploit two waves of survey data from Afrobarometer (Round 4 Afrobarometer Survey in Uganda, 2000, 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 both the spatial and ethnic intensity of fighting. 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 spatial fixed effects and instrumental variables. Controlling for the intensity of violence during the conflict, we also document that post-­conflict economic recovery is slower in ethnically fractionalized counties. Our findings are consistent with the existence of a self-reinforcing process between conflicts and ethnic cleavages.

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21 citations in Web of Science®
15 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:6 August 2013
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 14:42
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:59
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1381-4338
Additional Information:The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10887-013-9093-1
Related URLs:http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-53572
http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-74295

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