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Near-Real-Time Welfare and Livelihood Impacts of an Active Civil War : Evidence from Ethiopia (English)

Ethiopia is currently embroiled in a large-scale civil war that has continued for more than a year. Using unique High-Frequency Phone Survey data, which spans several months before and after the outbreak of the war, this paper provides fresh evidence on the ex durante impacts of the conflict on the food security and livelihood activities of affected households. The analysis uses difference-in-differences estimation to compare trends in the outcomes of interest across affected and unaffected regions (households) and before and after the outbreak of the civil war. The findings show that seven months into the conflict, the outbreak of the civil war increased the probability of moderate to severe food insecurity by 38 percentage points. Using the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data on households’ exposure to violent conflict, the analysis shows that exposure to one additional battle leads to a 1 percentage point increase in the probability of moderate to severe food insecurity. The conflict has reduced households’ access to food through supply chain disruptions while also curtailing non-farm livelihood activities. Non-farm and wage-related activities have been the most affected by the conflict, while farming activities have been relatively more resilient. Similarly, economic activities in urban areas have been much more affected than those in rural areas. These substantial impact estimates, which are likely to be underestimates of the true average effects on the population, constitute novel evidence of the near-real-time impacts of an ongoing civil conflict, providing direct evidence of how violent conflict disrupts the functioning of market supply chains and livelihoods activities. The paper highlights the potential of phone surveys to monitor active and large-scale conflicts, especially in contexts where conventional data sources are not immediately available.

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Citation

Abay,Kibrom A. Hirfrfot,Kibrom Tafere Berhane,Guush Chamberlin,Jordan Abay,Mehari H.

Near-Real-Time Welfare and Livelihood Impacts of an Active Civil War : Evidence from Ethiopia (English). Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 10004 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/099237104142234870/IDU0852cd3970e8df04e170b3430d96d0e0c6179