War and Schooling in South Sudan, 2013–2016

Augustino Mayai , University of Wisconsin

South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war since 2013, with tens of thousands killed and millions displaced. The economy has nearly collapsed, severely reducing the nation’s output and causing inflation to soar. This analysis exploits spatial variation in exposure to violence to estimate the causal impact of the recent South Sudanese civil war on primary school enrollment as a measure of human capital accumulation. Results based on the difference-in-differences (DD) methodology indicate a statistically significant relationship between enrollment and the war. Generally, schools located in the war zones lost on average 85 children per year or 18.5 percent of total enrollment. These effects are robust to a number of specifications, including holding constant school-level fixed-effects. Implications for policy, including investing in girls’ education, labor market and educational policies, and compulsory primary education for all children regardless of gender, both locally and internationally, are discussed.

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 Presented in Session 169. Flash Session: New Directions in Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality