The Effect of Violent Conflict on the Human Capital Accumulation of Young Adults

Ryan P. Brown, University of Colorado, Denver
Andrea Velasquez, University of Colorado, Denver

This paper estimates the effect of an unprecedented increase of drug-related violence in Mexico on educational attainment, cognitive ability, time allocation, and employment behavior of young adults between the ages of 14 and 17. The panel nature and the timing of the second (2005) and third wave (2009) of the Mexican Family Life Survey allows for some unique gains in the conflict literature, as we are able to compare pre and post violence outcomes, assess migratory behavioral response, and control for time invariant person-specific characteristics through individual and sibling fixed effects models. Preliminary results suggest children exposed to local violence have achieved lower levels of education, are more likely to work, and sleep fewer hours, which can have negative effects on school performance. These effects are stronger for males and children of parents that work in occupations most adversely effected by the Mexican drug war.

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Presented in Session 76: Child Work and Education