Public healthcare financing during counterinsurgency efforts: Evidence from Colombia

Year: 2021 HiCN Working Paper No. 348

How do government counterinsurgency efforts affect local public financing during civil conflicts? We investigate this question in the context of the protracted conflict in Colombia. Using data on antinarcotics operations and health transfers from the central government to municipal governments, we employ both panel estimations and instrumental variables to address concerns of endogeneity and omitted variables. We find no clear evidence that counterinsurgency operations causally affect health transfers to municipalities. However, we find indicative evidence that counterinsurgency operations affect the dynamics of local violence. Our findings suggest that armed counterinsurgency interventions by the State should be accompanied by renewed measures to support public healthcare financing for the affected local populations; otherwise, such interventions risk exacerbating the negative consequences of conflict exposure on population health.