Work in Progress

Violent Conflict and Land Tenure - Evidence of Strategic Expropriation from Colombia, with Lukas Kleine-Rueschkamp

Status

Continue Reading

Fighting while Talking - Assessing the impact of civil war on agriculture

This paper analyzes the impact of an increase in the armed conflict on agricultural production using the case of the Colombian coffee sector. I exploit a natural experiment which caused the level of violence to vary significantly due to the unexpected rupture of the peace dialogues between the Colombian government and the FARC in 2002. Using data provided by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, I estimate the Intention to Treat (ITT) using a Difference-in-Difference approach. Results suggest that an exogenous increase in the levels of violence induced a reduction of hectares allocated to coffee of -0.06 Ha on average. Moreover, on an average farm (2 ha of land allocated to coffee), an exogenous increase in the levels of violence decreased the sowing of new coffee by 3.5%. This paper contributes to the literature on the microeconomics costs of conflict in agricultural production, providing further information on the mechanisms behind the effects (labor market).

Continue Reading

Civil War and Household Structure - evidence from Burundi , with Richard Akresh and Philip Verwimp Verwimp.

This paper analyzes whether civil war modifies household structure by boosting individual migration. The identification strategy uses a unique two waves longitudinal data set from Burundi, for 1997 and 2008. This data set was collected during ongoing conflict and allows tracking individual migration decision over ten years. Besides the traditional conflict exposure measures at village level, our data gathered yearly information on household victimization. Results show that higher exposure to violence increases the probability to individual non-marital migration. These effects are concentrated on poor households and those household members that are adults or men. Our results are consistent with aggregated measure of conflict exposure, as well as household level victimization measures. Furthermore, we found that whereas marital migration in adult un-married women is unrelated with exposure to violence at village level, it does with household victimization approaches. In particular, we found that being victim of any assets related losses is related to an increase of marital migration for middle age unmarried women. It could imply the use of marriage market as strategy to face liquidity constraints. Results are robust to including province–specific time trends, alternative conflict exposure measures, and different levels of aggregation.

Continue Reading

Disentangling True from Self-Reported Attitude-Behavior Consistency - An Experiment on Survey Questionnaire, with Marco Giani and Philip Verwimp.

Quantifying the level of Attitude-Behavior consistency is one of the rationales behind the progressive incorporation of attitudinal questions in childcare-related survey questionnaires. We argue that the questionnaire design, and in particular the order and timing of questions on attitudes (attitudes toward a behavior) and practices (behavioral intentions), may entail different strength of cognitive dissonance, thereby biasing the estimated level of unobservable “true consistency” in an asymmetric way. In a Randomize Control Trial (RCT) we run in Burundi, a sample of household is randomly treated with four different KAP designs: (i) Questions on practices precede questions on attitudes within the same subsection (control group); (ii) Questions on attitudes precede questions on practices within the same subsection (control group. (Treatment I); (iii) Questions on practices precede questions on attitudes in different subsections (treatment II); and, (iv) Questions on attitudes precede questions on practices in different subsections (treatment III). The most important result is that behavioral self-reports predict attitudinal self-reports more than the opposite independently of the timing imposed by the questionnaire. Higher aggregate consonance induced by behavioral questions suggests that the strength of attitudes is relatively weak in the specific context of rural Burundi. We offer a cognitive-dissonance reduction based explanation, but low accessibility of the studied attitudes in the memory, low frequency at which they are evoked or low extent to which they are grounded in direct experience are also compatible with the described effect. Several alternative inference specifications are presented and encompass various level of aggregation. The implications for KAP survey design are discussed.

Continue Reading

This land is my land - Understanding the relationship between armed conflict and land in Urabá-Colombia, with José Fortou, Sandra Johansson and Jorge Giraldo (submitted) (working paper HiCN, ECARES) .

This article explores the relationship between armed conflict and changes in land tenure in the region of Urabá, a northwestern Colombian region considered as one of the main center of the intensification of Colombian conflict during eighties and nineties. We use a multi-method methodological approach. First, using qualitative instruments applied to the main actors present in the region, we build an understanding of the territorial disputes, actors and mechanisms used to transfer land in Urabá during the last 50 years. Eight land transfer mechanisms were identified: (i) colonization; (ii) public land titles; (iii) land market; (iv) invasions; (v) repopulation; (vi) material dispossession; (vii) forced sale; and (viii) forgery and identity theft. In each period of violence, illegal actors used these mechanisms to increase military, social and political control over the population. These qualitative findings allow us to have a clear spatial and temporal distribution of the different territorial disputes, where actors applied systematically different mechanism of land transfer that might have affected the land tenure structure. We use a unique dataset of rural plot ownership in 2011, based on cadastral information gathered by the regional government, to test quantitatively this hypothesis. A fixed effects model of land tenure structure is estimated to approach the relationship between land tenure and conflict in Urabá. The main empirical finding is that territories under dispute and under predominant paramilitary control had both larger plots and less land transfers. In contrast, territories with low levels of conflict have a small landholders scheme. These results are an important technical support for an ongoing process of transitional justice in Colombia based on land restitution.

Continue Reading

Agricultural production under threat of violence - evidence from Colombia coffee sector, with Ana María Ibañez and Philip Verwimp

This paper explores the relationship between armed internal conflict and agricultural production, using the case of the Colombian coffee sector. After being many years out of conflict, coffee producer regions in Colombia were exposed to violence as a consequences of the intensification of conflict during nineties and the deteriorate of the world coffee market. By using unique census data sets from two different years (1997 and 2005), we propose two approaches to estimate the actual relationship between coffee and violence. First, we explore how conflict generates disincentives to continue on agricultural production. Second, we examine the direct impact of conflict on agricultural production through different productive outcomes. We find a significant negative relationship between levels of violence and the decision to continue coffee production as well as the levels of productivity of the coffee production to coffee. Results are robust after controlling for sample selection bias and after several specifications.

Continue Reading

Does land titling matter? The role of land property rights in the war on illicit crops in Colombia, with Santiago Tobón and Jesse D'Anjue

This paper analyzes the role of formalization of land property rights in the war against illicit crops in Colombia. We argue that as a consequence of the increase of state presence and visibility during the period of 2000 and 2009, municipalities with a higher level of formalization of their land property rights saw a greater reduction in the area allocated to illicit crops. We hypothesize that this is due to the increased cost of growing illicit crops on formal land compared to informal, and due to the possibility of obtaining more benefits in the newly installed institutional environment when land is formalized. We exploit the variation in the level of formalization of land property rights in a set of municipalities that had their first Cadastral census collected in the period of 1994-2000; this selection procedure guarantees reliable data and an unbiased source of variation. Using fixed effects estimators, we found a significant negative relationship between the level of formalization of land property rights and the number of hectares allocated to coca crops per municipality. These results remain robust through a number of sensitivity analyses. Our findings contribute to the growing body of evidence on the positive effects of formal land property rights, and effective policies in the war on drugs in Colombia.

Continue Reading