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Migrants, Terror, War and Well-Being

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Hilton Atlanta, 403
Hosted By: Peace Science Society International & American Economic Association
  • Chair: Solomon W. Polachek, State University of New York-Binghamton

When Exit Is an Option: Effects of Indiscriminate Violence on Attitudes Among Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Kristin E. Fabbe
Harvard Business School
Chad Hazlett
University of California-Los Angeles
Tolga Sinmazdemir
Bogazici University


Most research on the effects of violence on civilian attitudes and behavior during civil war presumes that civilians are trapped in the conflict zone, with incumbents and insurgents competing for their loyalties. Yet in many cases – such as the current conflict in Syria, which we examine – large numbers of civilians leave the conflict zone, at least temporarily. How does indiscriminate violence affect civilian attitudes when exit is an option? Using a natural experiment owing to the inaccuracy of barrel bombs, we examine the effect of having one's home destroyed on a cluster of attitudes of Syrian refugees in Turkey related to their personal security, side-taking and social engagement. While losses from barrel bombing represent only one component of wartime harm, they nevertheless have profound effects. Specifically, civilians who lose a home to barrel bombing are more likely to see the Assad regime as a greater threat to themselves personally and to the whole of Syria. Such harm does not, however, increase civilians' support for the opposition, who failed to protect them. Instead we show that such violence increases parochial forms of solidarity and social engagement within the refugee community. Altogether this suggests that, when civilians can escape the conflict zone, they no longer need to choose sides as they seek safety, but rather may object to all armed groups. One implication of this logic is that for the armed groups – and particularly the incumbent in this case – indiscriminate violence may be a tragically effective tool for driving out populations that could have otherwise provided support and cover to the opposition. This argues for a "draining the sea" logic to indiscriminate violence, distinct from the logic described in the cases of captive civilian populations.

Social Changes in Impressionable Years and The Formation of Political Attitudes

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel
Dalhousie University


This paper provides evidence on the legacies of social changes experienced in impressionable
ages on adult political attitudes. We show that growing up during the 1930's
Jewish expulsions plays a signicant role in shaping the political and civic engagement
of individuals, and these eects are long lasting. Current adults who experienced the
expulsions at impressionable ages are less likely to show interest in politics, less likely to
nd political activity to be important, and have lower political participation. These results
are not found for individuals who were older at the time of the expulsions, and are
robust to xed region and birth-year characteristics, various denitions of impressionable
ages, and composition bias induced by dierential migration and mortality rates
across regions and cohorts. The estimates are also not driven by regional dierences in
1930's political participation, party support, Catholic share, exposure and destruction
during WWII, urbanization, and other regional characteristics. We provide evidence
that the adverse eects of social changes on political attitudes we nd are explained by
a model of political participation emphasizing the role of civic skills and socioeconomic
status acquired at younger ages. Exposure to the expulsions when young is associated
with lower adult volunteerism, trust, church attendance, and socioeconomic status.

Armed Conflict and Child Labor: Evidence from Iraq

George S. Naufal
Texas A&M University and IZA


This paper examines the relationship between armed conflict intensity and child labor using household level data from Iraq and taking advantage of a quasi-experiment setup. Armed conflict intensity is measured as the number of deaths related to conflict and child labor is separated by type of work: economic and household. Armed conflict intensity is associated with higher likelihood for economic child labor but not household work. We also control for individual and household characteristics which determine child labor. The results here are further evidence of the long-term costs of war on affect households.

Military Expenditures and Income Inequality Evidence from a Panel of European Countries (1990-2015)

Raul Caruso
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart


This paper contributes to the literature on military spending by analyzing the relationship between military spending and income inequality in a panel of european economies over the period 1990-2015. In particular, we exploit two different measures of military expenditures: (i) the military spending in absolute terms; (ii) the military expenditures per capita. Findings highlight a positive relationship between military expenditures and income inequality. These results are robust in different specifications. Results are also confirmed after we performed a variety of robustness tests.
Alfonso Flores-Lagunes
Syracuse University and IZA
Aig Unuigbe
State University of New York-Binghamton
Julia Schwenkenberg
Rutgers University
Carlos Seiglie
Rutgers University
JEL Classifications
  • F5 - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
  • I1 - Health