Date of Award

August 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Scott Adams

Committee Members

John Heywood, Kundan Kishor, Scott Drevianka, James Peoples


Armed Conflict, Development Economics, Education, Health, Trade


This dissertation consists of three essays on the economic cost of armed conflict.

The first essay focuses on the impact of an armed conflict on children's health. The exposure to violence in utero and early in life has adverse impacts on children's age-adjusted height. Using the experience of the Kashmir insurgency, I find that children more affected by the insurgency are 0.9 to 1.4 standard deviations shorter compared with children less affected by the insurgency. The effect is larger for children born during peaks in violence. Also, children affected by the insurgency are more likely to be sick in the two weeks prior to the survey.

The second essay analyzes the effect of an armed conflict on education of women. Armed conflicts tend to reduce educational outcomes of groups more affected by violence compared with groups less affected by violence. The Kashmir insurgency is different from previous examples that I find an insignificant effect of the insurgency on years of schooling. There are two reasons for this finding. First, improvements in the educational sector in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the 1980s and 1990s continue to work during the insurgency. Second, the Indian government dealt with the insurgency by sending in tens of thousands security forces to break down any form of rebellion.

The third essay explores the relationship between (armed) conflict and trade. Modeling the world as n*n dyadic country relationships, I account for heterogeneity of conflict dyads over time using panel estimation techniques and estimate the relationship between trade and conflict. The simultaneity in the trade-peace relationships is solved by using an instrumental variable approach. I find in most setups that trade promotes peace. After accounting for endogeneity, however, the relationship between trade and conflict reverses in sign in some setups, but remains negative once focusing only on bilateral conflict with actual battle deaths.