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Conflict and health: Building on the role of infrastructure

Shanna A. Kirschner and Amelia B. Finaret

World Development, 2021, vol. 146, issue C

Abstract: Conflict undermines health. But infrastructure, such as transportation networks, hospitals, and markets, can moderate the effects of conflict on health. We make two primary contributions to this established observation. First, we disentangle important differences in the roles that three types of infrastructure play in moderating the effect of conflict on health. Second, we evaluate conflict intensity as a continuous measure, capturing how different types of infrastructure could protect health in conflict-affected areas. We merge geocoded conflict and infrastructure metrics with individual-level child health data as a marker of societal well-being which is particularly sensitive to conflict. Our results, which cover 29 Sub-Saharan African states between 2000 and 2018, indicate that physical infrastructure ameliorates the effects of conflict on health. However, living in remote areas with higher food production also confers significant protection from conflict. This empirical pattern presents a policy challenge since increasing access to markets and reducing the degree of subsistence agriculture is associated with health improvement and economic development over time. Living in more populated areas comes with both substantial health benefits and risks. These effects are likely to become more complex as countries in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to urbanize.

Keywords: Infrastructure; Child health; Stunting; Conflict; Sub-Saharan Africa; Civil war (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105570

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