DP13509 Education and Conflict: Evidence from a Policy Experiment in Indonesia

Author(s): Dominic Rohner, Alessandro Saia
Publication Date: February 2019
Keyword(s): Civil War, conflict, education, Fighting, Polarization, protest, Returns to education, Schools
JEL(s): C23, D74, H52, I20, N45
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13509

This paper studies the impact of school construction on the likelihood of conflict, drawing on a policy experiment in Indonesia, and collecting our own novel dataset on political violence for 289 districts in Indonesia over the period 1955-1994. We find that education has a strong, robust and quantitatively sizeable conflict-reducing impact. It is shown that the channels of transmission are both related to economic factors as well as to an increase in inter-religious trust and tolerance. Interestingly, while societal mechanisms are found to have an immediate impact, economic channels only gain importance after some years. We also show that school construction results in a shift away from violent means of expression (armed conflict) towards non-violent ones (peaceful protests).