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Research Seminar Series (RSS)

Warfare and development: The long-run impact of bombing Vietnam

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

CGD and SAIS hosted a seminar with Edward Miguel, Department of Economics, University of California at Berkeley. Miguel presented his paper, "Warfare and development: The long-run impact of bombing Vietnam." Frederick Brown, Southeast Asia Studies Program, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies was the discussant.

ABSTRACT: We investigate the impact of U.S. bombing on later economic development in Vietnam. The Vietnam War featured the most intense bombing campaign in military history. We use a unique U.S. military dataset containing bombing intensity at the district level (N=585). We compare the heavily bombed districts to other districts, controlling for baseline demographic characteristics and district geographic factors. U.S. bombing does not have a statistically significant impact on long-run population density, poverty rates, infrastructure, or literacy in the 1990s. This finding suggests that recovery from war damage can be rapid, under certain conditions, although further work is needed to establish the generality of the finding in other settings.

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Photo of Edward Miguel
Non-Resident Fellow