The long-term effects of civil conflicts on education, earnings, and fertility: Evidence from Cambodia

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This paper examines the long-term effects of exposure to civil war and genocide on the educational attainment, earnings, and fertility of individuals in Cambodia. Given the well-documented causal links between schooling and labor productivity, it is surprising that past studies show that civil conflicts reduce educational attainment, but generally not earnings of individuals. Using variation in the degree of Cambodians' exposure to civil conflicts during primary school age, we find that disruption to primary education during civil conflicts decreases educational attainment and earnings, increases fertility, and has negligible effects on health of individuals several decades later. Our findings suggest that the effect of conflict on schooling disruption has adverse consequences on long-term labor productivity and economic development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-820
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Comparative Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Civil conflict
  • Earnings
  • Fertility
  • Genocide
  • Returns to schooling

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