We present causal evidence of the long-term effects of the Vietnam War on household agricultural productivity. Using bombing intensity data and data on the intensity of Agent Orange and other chemical agents used during the War, we find that spatial differences in the intensity of the War can help explain differences in long-term household agricultural productivity. Our endogeneity-corrected estimates suggest that, in the long-term, a 10% increase in bombing intensity decreases rice productivity by 2.94% and total agricultural productivity by 3.21%. Results from a fuzzy regression discontinuity design suggest that Agent Orange intensity also had a negative effect on rice productivity. We find that economic production is a channel through which the intensity of bombing and Agent Orange have adversely affected long-term agricultural productivity, while social capital is a channel through which Agent Orange is linked to lower long-term agricultural productivity.
- Agent Orange