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Aerial Bombardment and Educational Attainment

Le, Kien and Nguyen, My (2018): Aerial Bombardment and Educational Attainment.

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Abstract

This paper provides evidence that the Allied bombing of Vietnam, the longest and heaviest aerial bombardment in history, imposed detrimental ramifications on educational attainment and future labor market outcomes of school-age individuals. By exploiting the plausibly exogenous district-by-cohort variation in bomb destruction under a difference-in-differences framework, we find that an increase in bomb intensity leads to significantly fewer educational years completed and lower future earnings for school-age children exposed to the bombardment. We further show that both the supply-side factors (inadequate school security and the lack of teachers) and the demand-side factors (residential casualties, restricted access to healthcare, damaged properties, and increased reliance on welfare assistance) could be potential mechanisms driving the long-term consequences of aerial bombardment. Our findings underline the importance of conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction in promoting sustainable development.

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