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Estimating the Effects of Syrian Civil War

Aleksandar Keseljevic and Rok Spruk

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Abstract: We examine the effect of civil war in Syria on economic growth, human development and institutional quality. Building on the synthetic control method, we estimate the missing counterfactual scenario in the hypothetical absence of the armed conflict that led to unprecedented humanitarian crisis and population displacement in modern history. By matching Syrian growth and development trajectories with the characteristics of the donor pool of 66 countries with no armed internal conflict in the period 1996-2021, we estimate a series of growth and development gaps attributed to civil war. Syrian civil war appears to have had a temporary negative effect on the trajectory of economic growth that almost disappeared before the onset of COVID19 pandemic. By contrast, the civil war led to unprecedented losses in human development, rising infant mortality and rampantly deteriorating institutional quality. Down to the present day, each year of the conflict led to 5,700 additional under-five child deaths with permanently derailed negative effect on longevity. The civil war led to unprecedent and permanent deterioration in institutional quality indicated by pervasive weakening of the rule of law and deleterious impacts on government effectiveness, civil liberties and widespread escalation of corruption. The estimated effects survive a battery of placebo checks.

Date: 2022-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ara and nep-dev
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