The Long Shadow of the Kargil War: The Effect of Early-life Stress on Education

Year: 2021 HiCN Working Paper No. 347

The paper examines the long-term impact of the India-Pakistan war of 1999 on the educational attainment and employment of children born to families of soldiers who survived the war. Based on the assumption that military families faced higher levels of psychological stress than civilian families during the war period, the paper uses a difference-in-difference methodology with household fixed effects to show that the education and employment of military children exposed to the war during their formative years suffered significantly. An examination of the consumption expenditure pattern of military and civilian households suggests that the effect was unlikely to be via resource-related channels. The improbability of other direct pathways through which the war could affect these families suggests that the negative effect might have resulted from the psychological stress that the war generated for the military families.