International Society for Quantitative History

QH Webinar Series

Collateral Damage: The Legacy of the Secret War in Laos

10:30 | Thursday, May 19, 2022

Zoom Webinar

English

Felipe Valencia Caicedo

Felipe Valencia Caicedo

Assistant Professor of Economics, Vancouver School of Economics, The University of British Columbia

© U.S. Army, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As part of its Cold War counterinsurgency operations in Southeast Asia, the U.S. government conducted a “Secret War” in Laos from 1964-1973. This war constituted one of the most intensive bombing campaigns in human history. As a result, Laos is now severely contaminated with UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) and remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

Felipe Valencia Caicedo and his co-author, in their latest study, document the negative long-term impact of conflict on economic development, using highly dis-aggregated and newly available data on bombing campaigns, satellite imagery and development outcomes. They find a negative, significant and economically meaningful impact of bombings on nighttime lights, expenditures and poverty rates. Almost 50 years after the conflict ended, bombed regions are poorer today and are growing at slower rates than unbombed areas. A one standard deviation increase in the total pounds of bombs dropped is associated with a 9.3% fall in GDP per capita. To deal with the potential endogeneity of bombing, they use as instruments the distance to the Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh trail as well as US military airbases outside Laos.

In this Quantitative History Webinar, Felipe Valencia Caicedo will explain how they show the deleterious impact of bombing campaigns in terms of health, education, structural transformation and rural-urban migration using census data at the village and individual levels.

Felipe's co-author: Juan Felipe Riaño (University of British Columbia)

Discussant: Quoc-Anh (QA) Do, Visiting Associate Professor, Northwestern University

Live on Zoom on May 19, 2022
10:30 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore
11:30 Tokyo | 12:30 Sydney
Previous Day 19:30 Los Angeles/Vancouver | 21:30 Chicago | 22:30 New York

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Zoom Webinar

Felipe Valencia Caicedo

English

The Quantitative History Webinar Series aims to provide researchers, teachers, and students with an online intellectual platform to keep up to date with the latest research in the field, promoting the dissemination of research findings and interdisciplinary use of quantitative methods in historical research. The Series, now in its third year, is co-organized by the International Society for Quantitative History, HKU Business School, and Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. 量化歷史網上講座系列由香港大學陳志武和馬馳騁教授聯合發起,旨在介紹前沿量化歷史研究成果、促進同仁交流,推廣量化方法在歷史研究中的應用。本系列講座由國際量化歷史學會、香港大學經管學院和香港人文社會研究所全力支持和承辦。

Conveners: Professor Zhiwu Chen & Dr. Chicheng Ma (HKU Business School)

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