DECRG Kuala Lumpur Seminar Series: The Seasonality of Conflict
July 28, 2016DECRG Kuala Lumpur Seminar Series

We exploit the seasonality of agricultural labor markets to estimate the effect of changes in the returns to working versus fighting on the intensity of conflict. Based on a dynamic model of labor supply we show theoretically that exogenous, anticipated, and transitory changes in labor demand due to harvest are better able to capture the intra-temporal substitution between labor and conflict than a number of other instruments in the literature. This is because seasonal shocks hold constant factors commonly omitted in empirical studies - such as the present value of future victory or the marginal utility of consumption. Our identification strategy exploits exogenous sub-national variation in the timing and intensity of harvest driven by local climatic conditions. Using data from four different conflict settings - Afghanistan, Peru, Iraq, and Pakistan - our results show that the onset of harvest usually leads to a statistically significant reduction in the number of monthly insurgent attacks. These results document the ubiquity of opportunity costs mechanisms across different conflict settings.

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  • Steven Pennings is an Economist in the World Bank's Development Research Group, Macroeconomics and Growth Team. His research interests include fiscal policy (especially fiscal transfers), economic growth, exchange rate pass-through, and monetary policy. He has worked at the Federal Reserve Board, the IMF, the Asian Development Bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia, as well as for Save the Children in Vietnam. He studied at New York University (PhD in economics).
  • The DECRG Kuala Lumpur Seminar Series is hosted by the World Bank's Development Research Group (DECRG) based in the World Bank Malaysia office. The series invites leading researchers in development economics and public policy to present their recent work in an academic-style seminar format.
  • WHEN: Thursday, 28 July 2016; 12:30 - 2:00 pm
  • WHERE: World Bank Malaysia Office, Level 3, Sasana Kijang, No. 2, Jalan Dato’ Onn
  • RSVP: Kindly RSVP by Wednesday, 27 July 2016.