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dc.contributor.authorPottebaum, David
dc.contributor.authorKanbur, Ravi
dc.descriptionWP 2001-23 December 2001
dc.descriptionJEL Classification Codes: O10; O15; H41
dc.description.abstractThis paper establishes and explores the implications of a somewhat surprising empirical finding. Although civil war adversely affects the performance of social indicators in general, poorer countries lose less, in absolute and relative terms, than richer countries. It is argued that the explanation may lie in the extent to which richer countries have better social (and economic) indicators because of more public goods, and adaptation of economic and social mechanisms to the greater abundance of public goods such as physical infrastructure. Civil war destroys public goods, and therefore damages disproportionately the countries most dependent on them. A further implication of this framework is that the post-conflict rebound in social indicators should be relatively stronger in poorer countries. The data bear out this prediction. Our results should not of course be read as implying that poorer countries need less support to avoid civil war and to cope with its aftermath. Although their losses are less, they start from a lower base; so even small declines severely impact human well being. Properly understood, our results highlight the central role that public goods play in underpinning the social (and economic) wealth of nations.
dc.description.sponsorshipThe authors are grateful to the Cornell University Peace Studies Program for funding in support of this research project.
dc.publisherCharles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
dc.subjectcivil war
dc.subjectpublic goods
dc.subjectsocial indicators
dc.titleCivil War, Public Goods and the Social Wealth of Nations

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  • Dyson School Working Papers
    Working Papers published by the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University

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