Essays on Economics of Conflicts

Sze Lau

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Chapter 1: Conflict and Child Health: Evidence from the DRC Conflicts between 1996 and 2014
This paper uses four nationally representative household surveys to investigate the dynamics of children’s health during the DRC conflicts from 1996 to 2014. I find negative effects on child HAZ scores after the First and Second Congo Wars. The ceasefire period between 2003 and 2008 significantly enhanced child nutritional performance. In contrast, the subsequent conflict in Orientale, Nord-Kivu and Sud-Kivu worsened child HAZ scores again.

Chapter 2: Conflict and Development: A Methodology by Using Outer Space Data
This paper pioneers the use of night light density data from satellite pictures to study the impacts of war on economic performance in seven countries. The results vary by conflict, with clear negative effects in Syria and Iraq. The Afghan War appears to stimulate economic development while no statistically significant effect has been found for the case of Libya, Colombia, Chad and the DRC. In general, the impacts of war on economic development are heterogeneous, conditional on the country specific characteristics.

Chapter 3: Conflict and Fertility: A Case Study by the DRC Conflicts
This paper studies the impact of conflict on fertility in the Democratic Republic of Congo by employing four nationally representative household surveys, the results estimated by women between 15 and 49 years old display a lower fertility level during the ceasefire periods. In other words, conflict boosts the fertility level, which can be explained by a risk-insurance effect. However, this result suffers from omitted variable bias. For younger women samples between 15 and 23 years old, the estimation turns out to be insignificant. Hence, it shows that the DRC conflicts has not had a significant impact on fertility.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Spagat, Michael, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Mar 2019
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


  • Econometrics
  • Conflict
  • Health
  • Economic Growth
  • Fertility
  • Nightlight
  • Nutrition

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