Households amidst urban riots: The economic consequences of civil violence in India

Year: 2012 HiCN Working Paper No. 126

The objective of this paper is to uncover the determinants of riot victimization in India. The analysis is based on a unique survey collected by the authors in March-May 2010 in Maharashtra. We adopt a multilevel framework that allows neighborhood and district effects to randomly influence household victimization. The main results are that households that (i) are economically vulnerable, (ii) live in the vicinity of a crime-prone area, and (iii) are not able to rely on community support are considerably more prone to suffer from riots than other households. All else equal, income per capita increases victimization, presumably through an opportunity cost mechanism. We find further that relatively affluent neighborhoods and those characterized by large caste fragmentation are more riot-prone than disfranchised and homogeneous ones. Victimization is more common in neighborhoods with weaker social interactions, but some evidence suggests that weak social interactions may also be a consequence of rioting.