On War and Schooling Attainment: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Year: 2009 HiCN Working Paper No. 057

The subject of civil war has received significant attention in recent years, due to numerous episodes of intrastate armed conflict around the world. However, more work remains to be done in terms of quantifying the effects of civil wars on the welfare of individuals, as well as in uncovering the precise mechanisms through which the relationship operates. This study identifies war intensity effects of the 1992–1995 BosnianWar on schooling attainment, and explores possible channels of influence. Empirical identification relies on the variation in war intensity, which is determined by a unique data set that contains information on municipality-level war casualties, and variation in birth cohorts of children. My results suggest that cohorts that endured greater war intensity are less likely to complete secondary schooling. Surprisingly, I do not find a similar result for primary schooling. Ancillary evidence suggests that my estimates are picking up immediate, rather than aftermath effects. Furthermore, war intensity effects are mostly realized via direct channels, and there is empirical evidence that points to the military draft as being a primary driver of the adverse effects on secondary schooling attainment.