The Impact of Intra-State Conflict on Economic Welfare and Consumption Smoothing: Empirical Evidence for the Displaced Population in Colombia


Year: 2006 HiCN Working Paper No. 023

Intra-state conflicts and forced displacement impose a heavy burden upon the civil population, and produce severe welfare losses. Using a household level data administered to 2.322 Colombian displaced households, we estimate welfare losses for displaced households, as well as the determinants of labor income and aggregate consumption in reception sites. We also asses whether households are able to smooth consumption, and analyze the strategies they are compelled to adopt. Our results indicate that forced displacement entails a significant asset loss, limits the ability of household to generate income, disrupts risk-sharing mechanisms, and obliges households to rely on costly strategies in order to smooth consumption. Thus, the short and long-term consequences of forced displacement are large, and the need to design and implement specific policies for victims of internal conflict is evident. These policies, in particular, should provide mechanisms to prevent substantial welfare losses and to create conditions for sustainable income generation processes

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