Three essays on the long-term effects of civil conflicts in Cambodia

Chandarany Ouch
This dissertation presents three self-contained, but related, essays on the long-term effects of civil conflicts on individuals in Cambodia. The first essay examines the long-term effects of exposure to civil war from 1970 to 1975 and genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979 on the educational attainment and labor productivity of individuals in Cambodia. Given the well-documented causal links between schooling and labor productivity, it is surprising that past studies have shown
more » ... hat civil conflicts generally reduce the educational attainment but not the 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 the 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. The second essay uses geographical variation in gender-differentiated mortality during the genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979 to study the effect of violent conflict on the educational and health outcomes of children born years after the conflict ended. We show that the adverse effects of violent conflict are transmitted from one generation to the next through its effect on the sex ratio and marriage outcomes of those who survived the conflict. We find that mortality rates under the Khmer Rouge regime predict a lower likelihood of normal grade progression and lower height-for-age Z-scores for children born to parents who were of prime marriage age (14–29) during the time that the Khmer Rouge was in power. Using mortality rates during the Khmer Rouge regime as an instrumental variable for the sex ratio, we find that the lower sex ratio in the parents' generation also reduces the likelihood of children exhibiting normal grade progression and d [...]
doi:10.4225/03/58b616c9263b3 fatcat:a2laaiktnzcevgiyp7pmmbn2fa