The Effect of Armed Conflict on Accumulation of Schooling: Results from Tajikistan

From 1992 to 1998 Tajikistan was embroiled in one of the most devastating civil conflicts in the Former Soviet Union region. To identify regional exposure to the conflict I use data on the past damage to household dwelling from the 1999 Tajik Living Standards Survey and data on exposure to conflict from Tajik newspapers for the 1991-1999. I use two empirical approaches in this paper. First, I evaluate the impact of the conflict on school enrollment by children in the mandatory age group, ages 7-15. Second, I use a difference in differences approach to determine whether the exposure to conflict affected the probability of completion of mandatory schooling by adults. The results imply that exposure to the conflict, as measured by past damage to household dwelling, had a large significant negative effect on the enrollment of girls, and little, or no, effect on enrollment of boys. Furthermore, I find that girls who were of school age during the conflict and lived in conflict affected regions were i) 12.3 percent less likely to complete mandatory schooling as compared to girls who had the opportunity to complete their schooling before the conflict started, and ii) 7% less likely to complete school than girls of the same age who lived in regions relatively unaffected by conflict. Thus, the armed conflict in Tajikistan may have created significant regional and generational disparities in the education attained by women. Interestingly, these disparities were not completely explained by unavailability or destruction of schools and other education related infrastructure in the regions affected by conflict.

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