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Does School Education Reduce the Likelihood of Societal Conflict in Africa?

Julius Agbor ()

No 218, Working Papers from Economic Research Southern Africa

Abstract: This paper empirically tests the hypothesis that education, as measured by the average schooling years in the population aged 15 and above, reduces the likelihood of societal conflicts in Africa. It focuses on a sample of 31 African countries during 1960-2000 and uses both panel ordered probit and multinomial logistic estimation models. Using an aggregated measure of all intrastate major episodes of political violence obtained from the Political Instability Task Force (PITF) as proxy for conflict, and controlling for the extent of political participation, income inequality, labour market conditions, neighborhood e¤ects, different income levels, natural resource revenues, youth bulge, inflation, ethno-linguistic and religious fractionalisation and urbanisation; the results suggests that education e¤ectively reduces the likelihood of intra-state conflicts in Africa. This finding is robust to alternative model specifications and to alternative time frames of analysis. The evidence also suggests that, sound macroeconomic policies, by way of rapid per capita GDP growth, better export performance and lower inflation are means of effectively reducing the likelihood of conflicts while neighborhood effects are a significant driver of internal conflicts in African states. Therefore, in the battle to reduce the frequency of intrastate conflicts, African governments should complement investments in education with sound macroeconomic policies while seeking mutually beneficial solutions to all major internal conflicts, with a view to minimising their spill-over effects.

Keywords: School Education; Intra-state Conflict; Economic Development; Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2011
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-edu and nep-lab
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