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Fragility, Conflict, and Violence


Poverty and fragility are increasingly interlinked: by 2030, more than half of the world's extreme poor will live in countries characterized by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV). The global fragility landscape has worsened significantly in ​recent years, impacting low- and middle-income countries.

Research, data collection, and analysis under this theme will study the particular challenges of fragile and conflict-affected situations, which are home to a large share of the world’s extremely poor people and remain a special concern to the World Bank Group. This area includes, for example, issues such as factors contributing to conflict and violence, the cost of conflict in terms of growth and development outcomes, international policy and support to help break the cycle of conflict, challenges and transition issues of post-conflict economies, and, more broadly, the factors, policies, and institutions that contribute to enhancing competitiveness and sustainable progress in fragile states.

In light of the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, more innovative tools and analyses are demanded to estimate program impacts on poverty outcomes quicker and more cost-effectively, particularly in low-capacity FCV settings, and to examine the social and psychological effects of conflicts and forced displacement. For example, DEC teams are currently testing the feasibility and accuracy of using call detail records to estimate changes in poverty in Afghanistan, where high-quality household data are limited, expensive, and difficult to generate. In addition, the teams are looking into effective strategies for social and economic integration of refugees in host communities in Jordan, using an RCT, and in Bangladesh, estimating the psychological costs of the loss of home among adolescent refugees and the benefits of creating a “home” relative to the benefits of pure economic interventions.

In the FCV context, the topic of migration is of great importance. Many empirical studies have found that increased labor mobility leads to large gains for the immigrants and positive overall gains for the destination countries. The compelling economic evidence on the economic gains and social benefits of migration sits awkwardly with stark political opposition to immigration, particularly for immigrants who come from FCV countries. Although research has begun to explore the economic and political sources of this tension, large knowledge gaps persist. (i) Data: the World Bank’s leadership in this area was initiated by KCP funding more than a decade ago. Yet, data constraints, especially in lower-income countries, are severe. (ii) Impact: analysis of the impact of migration in origin and destination countries requires innovative approaches. This is especially the case for exploring the relationships between migration and climate change, gender discrimination, demographic change, and civil conflict. (iii) Policy: the existing evidence on many policies indicates that they cannot be evaluated with the current data or are simply ineffective. Innovative policy tools need to be designed and evaluated, using proper administrative data.

Working Papers

The Impact of Syrian Refugees on the Turkish Labor Market (2015)

By 2015, 2.5 million Syrians fleeing war found refuge in Turkey, making it the largest refugee-hosting country worldwide. Syrian refugees are overwhelmingly employed informally, since they were not issued work permits, making their arrival a well-defined supply shock to informal labor.

The Relationship between Conflicts, Economic Shocks, and Death with Depression, Economic Activities, and Human Capital Investment in Nigeria (2018)

This paper examines the links between adverse events, depression, and decision making in Nigeria. It investigates how events such as conflicts, shocks, and deaths can affect short-term perceptions of welfare, as well as longer-term decisions on economic activities and human capital investments.

Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence on Adult Noncognitive Investments in Liberia (2016)

A study of criminally-engaged Liberian men found that self-control, time preferences, and values are malleable in adults. Investments in these skills and preferences reduce crime and violence.

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