WAR, RESILIENCE AND POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT IN AFRICA

Abstract

ABSTRACT. We test whether early-life war exposure influences later-life political engagement in Africa. We combine data on the location and intensity of conflicts since 1945 with nationally representative data on political attitudes and behaviors from 17 sub-Saharan African countries. Exposure from ages 0 to 14 has a very small (standardized) impact on later attitudes and behaviors. Our results are robust to migration, and hold across several definitions, specifications, and sources of data. Our results are consistent with recent studies demonstrating that, on average, individuals and localities recover quickly from the destructive effects of conflict, though those most exposed experience large and prolonged effects. 1

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