The microeconomics of violent conﬂict
In our brief review, we take stock of the emergence, in the last decade, of the “microeconomics of violent conﬂict”
as a new subﬁeld of empirical development economics. We start by de-bunking common misperceptions about the
microeconomics of conﬂict and identify several contributions to economic theory and, in particular, to empirics,
methods and data. We also show how the subﬁeld is enriched through cooperation with scholars working in
related disciplines. We expect future work to contribute inter alia to the evidence base on peacebuilding in-
terventions, the development of post-conﬂict institutions, the behavior of ﬁrms in conﬂict areas and the role of
emotions in decision-making. We note a disconnect between the rapidly evolving academic subﬁeld on the one
hand and the relatively limited use of knowledge thus generated by humanitarian and development organisations
and policy makers working in and on conﬂict-affected areas. We conclude by suggesting that teaching in eco-
nomics and the discipline-speciﬁc JEL codes have not yet kept pace with this recent intellectual development.
1. The microeconomics of conﬂict as a new sub-ﬁeld of
In this short review, we deﬁne the subﬁeld of the microeconomics of
violent conﬂict, reviewing its scope, discussing its achievements to date
and offering a subjective take on future pathways. We discuss research
that has focused at its core on the behavior and welfare of individual
agents and groups, disregarding studies of entire countries at war.
deﬁne violent conﬂict as the “systematic breakdown of the social contract
resulting from and/or leading to changes in social norms, which involves
mass violence instigated through collective action”(Justino et al., 2013:
The micro-level analysis of such forms of violent conﬂict is a new
topic in development economics, which has offered new exciting
analytical and methodological insights, as well as challenges.
The microeconomics of conﬂict has multiple intellectual origins. The
ﬁrst studies were originally stimulated by new microeconomics ap-
proaches to the study of development during the second half of the 1990s
and early 2000s (e.g. Deaton, 1997), by inﬂuential cross-country analyses
of the economic causes and consequences of armed conﬂict (e.g. Collier
and Hoefﬂer, 2004) and by new work on the political economy of
development (e.g. Acemoglu et al., 2001). At the same time, the growing
realization by policymakers that the poorest and most vulnerable
households lived under the shadow of wars (World Bank, 2011) and the
focus of policy attention on the stabilization and development of Iraq and
Afghanistan induced many development economists to turn their atten-
tion to the study of violent conﬂict. While the ﬁrst studies focused on the
macroeconomic causes and consequences of civil wars, attention soon
turned to the ways in which individuals, households and communities
behave, adapt, make decisions and live in conﬂict-affected contexts and
how these micro-level dynamics feed into the conﬂict itself (Justino et al.,
2013). The growing practice of development economists to collect and
analyze survey data and technological advances in micro data collection
and processing methods in turn encouraged scholars to collect new data
and use existing data in creative ways to better understand how people
live and make decisions in conﬂict settings (e.g. Brück et al., 2014).
The microeconomics literature on violent conﬂict has to date fol-
lowed three strands. Several studies have focused on the analysis of how
individuals, households and communities and, more rarely, ﬁrms –all
largely seen as victims of violence –react to and cope with violent con-
ﬂict (Brück et al., 2013;Justino, 2012;Martin-Shields and Stojetz, 2018).
Another strand of literature has studied how people contribute to con-
ﬂict, whether by choice or under duress, emphasizing the importance of
individual and group agency in conﬂict contexts (Verwimp, 2005;
Krueger, 2007;Humphreys and Weinstein, 2008). A third strand, which
originates from a growing interest of economists in randomized control
trials, has concentrated on assessing the impact of policy interventions on
For a review of this earlier literature see Blattman and Miguel (2010).
This deﬁnition includes violent protests, riots, coups, revolutions, civil wars, genocide, international wars, and terrorism (for the latter, see also Krueger, 2007 and
Schneider et al., 2015). It excludes forms of social conﬂict that do not result in mass violence, such as strikes, criminal activities conducted for self-gain that do not
involve mass violence, such as thefts or robberies, and intra-household forms of conﬂict, such as domestic violence (Justino et al., 2013). In this paper, we use the
words ‘violent conﬂict’,‘armed conﬂict’and ‘conﬂict’interchangeably.
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Journal of Development Economics 141 (2019) 102297
people living during or after civil wars or at building peace and security
in such contexts (Justino, 2018a;Puri et al., 2017).
Interestingly, many of the advances in all of these areas of research
have been made possible due to close collaboration with related disci-
plines, including political science, international relations, peace research,
conﬂict and security studies, development studies, sociology, and social
psychology. While the microeconomics of conﬂict literature is charac-
terized by the use of rigorous methods common in economics, its topics
and theoretical frameworks are often shared with these disciplines, an
advance that has enriched development economics more broadly.
Many of the studies in this subﬁeld were conducted by scholars
afﬁliated to the Households in Conﬂict Network (HiCN).
issue draws on research presented at the 13th Annual Workshop of the
Households in Conﬂict Network, held in Brussels in November 2017.
Based on these and selected related papers, we discuss some achieve-
ments and future directions in theory, empirics, data and methods. We
proceed by highlighting the contribution of this emerging subﬁeld to
debunking a number of myths in conventional wisdom that have not
survived scientiﬁc scrutiny.
2. Five myths about microeconomics research on conﬂict
Myth 1: “It is impossible to do rigorous and ethical research in
conﬂict zones.”One of the reasons why economists traditionally did not
study war economies or people in war zones was the misconception that
conﬂict-affected areas were out of reach for researchers, for security and
ethical reasons. The community of scholars populating the subﬁeld has
by now amply demonstrated that this is not the case. In fact, as we will
document below, innovative data collection methods are a key charac-
teristic of the subﬁeld. Civil wars in developing countries are often low-
tech, spatially concentrated conﬂicts, where even ‘hot’zones can be
visited during pauses in the ﬁghting, especially with the right partners on
the ground. In reality, the closer one gets to a war zone, the easier it is to
judge credibly and safely what kind of work is (not) possible. Further-
more, with the advent of mobile phone technology and remote sensing,
obtaining information from within active war zones has become easier
Myth 2: “Violent behavior is irrational.”The notion that (many) acts
of violence are irrational is a deep-seated human belief, leading earlier
generations of economists (and others) to dismiss violence as irrelevant
for (economic) theorising. Today, we know that there are actors who
have a comparative advantage in using violence –and that it may be
rational or optimal to act violently (North et al., 2009). Drawing on a
large literature in political science and sociology (Kalyvas, 2006), one
important intellectual contribution of the microeconomics of conﬂict has
been to make sense of war, and the fact that the choice set of “normal”
human behavior also includes violent actions, in line with related efforts
in other disciplines.
Myth 3: “War stops markets and governance.”Most aspects of life,
such as farming, trading, schooling and others activities, continue in
conﬂict zones. Economic activity is likely to become more informal, with
fewer formal taxes paid or collected but with informal markets and
informal revenue raising thriving (Arias et al., 2018;S
anchez de la Sierra,
2018). Households may move into safer areas or activities (for example,
by growing food crops rather than cash crops) and may invest more in
social networks as a coping strategy (Bozzoli and Brück, 2009;Bauer
et al., 2016). At the same time that social and economic life carries on, so
does governance, as shown in emerging studies (S
anchez de la Sierra,
2018;Justino, 2018b). Although state institutions may weaken as
violence spreads, a number of political (often armed) actors occupy these
governance spaces, either by capturing existing or by creating new in-
stitutions - with important implications for economic development in the
short and long term (Justino and Stojetz, 2018).
Myth 4: “Conﬂict is a problem of poverty and of the poor.”While it
is true that an increasing share of the world's most destitute people live in
conﬂict-affected countries (OECD, 2016), it does not necessarily hold
that the poor have the most to lose from war. Given the distributional
implications of war (Bircan et al., 2017;Justino and Verwimp, 2013;
Scheidel, 2017), sometimes the wealthier have relatively more to lose
from war destruction, particularly when they, their families and their
assets are direct targets of violence. Wealthier and better-connected in-
dividuals and households may, however, also be better able to shield
themselves from conﬂict while the poor may suffer more directly (Ib
and Velez, 2008). Similarly, there is little evidence to support the com-
mon assertion that ‘poverty breeds violence’. While there is an associa-
tion between violent conﬂict and low-income countries, largely for
reasons to do with weak institutions, there is almost no evidence of a
concentration of perpetrators of violence among the poor (Verwimp,
Myth 5: “The post-war economy should be reconstructed.”A popular
notion, especially in the international policy community, is that, once a
particular war has ended, the economy should be “reconstructed”
(Addison and Brück, 2009). In most cases, this belief is misguided and
should be replaced by the notion that war induces structural change in
the economy which should then be seized upon to build a better econ-
omy, using appropriate technologies and innovations. On the one hand, is
seems foolish to re-construct the economy (and presumably with it a
social model) that yielded war as its outcome. Be it Europe pre-World
War I or pre-World War II, be it Syria, DRC or Colombia today, it
seems preferable to build post-war economies which reward pro-social,
peaceful behaviour. On the other hand, war induces a massive struc-
tural transformation of any economy. It is entirely unclear if re-building a
bombed out infrastructure will yield the same social and economic
beneﬁts as that infrastructure provided pre-war. Local population den-
sity, demand and trade patterns may have changed irreversibly, requiring
a new and unique blueprint for each post-war settlement.
3. Recent achievements
In this section, we review brieﬂy how the microeconomic analysis of
violent conﬂict has contributed to development economics as a disci-
pline. We are less interested in documenting exhaustively what has been
published so far,
but rather focus on insights from this subﬁeld that are
of larger relevance to development economists.
Theory. Research on the microeconomics of violent conﬂict has been
largely empirical to date. The empirical richness it has generated has in
turn led to new theoretical contributions. We highlight here three theo-
retical areas of development economics where work in conﬂict-affected
contexts has led to particularly relevant insights: the political economy
of development, household decision-making and social preferences and
The main theoretical premise in most models of economic develop-
ment is the existence of a state with the monopoly of violence, able to
enforce contracts and guarantee property rights. Work on conﬂict areas
in political science has shown that markets and social interactions
continue to operate in the absence of such state institutions and the
fragmentation of political authority (Kalyvas, 2006;Arjona et al., 2015).
These insights have ﬁltered into new economics research showing how
taxation and political authority contribute to quasi-states in conﬂict areas
anchez de la Sierra, 2018), how forms of wartime governance affect
collective action in the aftermath of wars (Justino and Stojetz, 2018), the
HiCN was founded in 2004 and convenes researchers who work on the
causes, functioning and consequences of violent conﬂict at the micro-level using
empirical methods. HiCN hosts the largest collection of working papers on the
microeconomics of conﬂict worldwide. See www.hicn.org for further informa-
tion about the network, its publications and its annual workshops.
This has been done, inter alia, by Verwimp et al. (2009),Justino (2009,
2012) and Blattman and Miguel (2010).
Editorial Journal of Development Economics 141 (2019) 102297
role of information by different armed actors in counterinsurgency in-
terventions (Berman et al., 2011), and how different actors control eco-
nomic resources (Dube and Vargas, 2013).
The second theoretical contribution is on household-decision making.
The impact of shocks on household welfare in developing countries has
traditionally been analyzed within household farm models, with a
maximizing utility function at its core (Singh et al., 1986). Empirical
research on household decision-making in conﬂict zones has shown that
households often make decisions –such as selling cattle when prices are
low or removing children from schools –that appear at ﬁrst sight to
minimize rather than maximize their expected utility. This is largely
because violent shocks often lead to a trade-off between maximizing
welfare and maximizing physical security (Justino, 2009). The two rarely
go hand in hand because, for instance, households that may want to keep
their assets in conﬂict areas may be at greater risk of being targets of
violence (Justino and Verwimp, 2013) or because returns to formal ed-
ucation are so low in a war-setting (Bozzoli and Brück, 2009). In addi-
tion, studies from countries affected by armed conﬂict for a very long
time (such as Colombia, Angola, DRC, Somalia or Afghanistan) reveal
that households, ﬁrms and entire economies undergo structural change
whereby agents adapt to the war economy, sometimes for decades or
permanently. While initially economists treated conﬂict as a short-term
shock and made use of workhorse household utility maximization
models to advance our understanding of the economic effects of violent
conﬂict, later research has realized that the shock is only the entry point
of a very long period of change and more dynamic models are needed to
capture such changes. These long effects of wars are reviewed and
documented in this special issue by Saurabh Singhal.
The third theoretical contribution is to the understanding of social
preferences and social capital. A new body of literature has documented
how shocks, institutions and other life experiences affect individual
preferences and other-regarding behaviors, challenging a longstanding
premise in neoclassical economic theory that individual preferences are
exogenous and ﬁxed (Bowles, 1998;Bozzoli et al., 2011). Recent studies
have shown that exposure to violence may result in higher levels of
pro-social behavior (Voors et al., 2012;Bauer et al., 2016). On the other
hand, a line of work in collective action research has also challenged the
connotation of social capital as a force of “good”and focuses instead on
its dark side. Recent papers show that group cooperation and social
cohesion are in fact key to successful rebellion (Petersen, 2001;Wood,
2003) and that it can be successfully employed in a campaign of geno-
cidal violence (Verwimp, 2013).
Empirics. The empirical analysis of violent conﬂict has thrived in the
last ten years, with a focus on understanding the causes and conse-
quences of conﬂict at the micro-level. Inﬂuential studies have docu-
mented the large impacts of civil wars on education, health, labor market
outcomes and social relations. One key ﬁnding is the long lasting and
persistent legacies of conﬂict on human capital outcomes, including
when conﬂict is experienced during formative childhood years (Bun-
dervoet et al., 2009,Akresh et al., 2011,Brück et al. forthcoming). While
a large literature in development economics has shown the long term
impact of shocks experienced during childhood (e.g. Almond and Currie,
2011), the literature on conﬂict has emphasized how such effects may
persist despite efforts to rebuild countries and communities, and inde-
pendently on whether the country overall manages to recover to pre-war
economic development levels (Miguel and Roland, 2011). The contri-
butions by Eleonora Bertoni and colleagues and Saurabh Singhal in this
special issue are examples of such research. Bertoni et al. assess the
negative impact of the Boko Haram conﬂict on enrolment and school
attainment, whilst Singhal demonstrates that early-life exposure to
bombing in Vietnam has long-term consequences into adulthood in terms
of adverse mental health, an outcome that has to date not been much
A number of studies have also focused on identifying the causes of
violent conﬂict. Micro-level work by development economists has
focused on the role of poverty, inequality, unemployment, the presence
of natural resources and the political economy of development, some-
times with mixed effects as discussed above.
For instance, in this special
issue, the paper by Suleiman Abu-Bader and Elena Ianchovichina discuss
the puzzle of the Middle East, where conﬂict thrives despite low levels of
poverty and institutional weakness.
More recent research, still in its infancy, has attempted to document
not only the micro-level causes and consequences of conﬂict, but also
how internal conﬂict dynamics may result in different development
outcomes. The literature on conﬂict dynamics has been dominated by
empirical studies in political science on group mobilization (Weinstein,
2007), types of violence (Kalyvas, 2006), rebel governance (Arjona et al.,
2015) and peace-building (Autesserre, 2010). Work by development
economists on how different conﬂict dynamics may affect development
outcomes is only emerging and has to date focused on the role of infor-
mation asymmetries (Berman et al., 2011), and on forced displacement as
a war strategy (Ibanez and V
elez, 2008). The paper by Bertoni et al. in
this special issue advances this literature by showing how conﬂict dy-
namics –in this case, speciﬁc targets of violence (schools), distance of
households to violent events and the actions of different violent actors
(rebel group, government forces or the police) –may result in different
One area with large inﬂuence in recent years has been the role of
international third parties in conﬂict processes, including the role of
external aid (Crost et al., 2014,2016). Two papers in this special issue, by
Travers Barclay Child and by Suleiman Abu-Bader and Elena Ianchovi-
china contribute signiﬁcantly to this literature. Child tests the long-
standing question on the impact of aid on conﬂict by disaggregating its
effects across sectors –a new question in this line of research. The paper
ﬁnds that the effect of aid projects on conﬂict in Afghanistan is hetero-
geneous across sectors, with health projects promoting stability, and
education projects provoking further conﬂict. This is because education
interventions are perceived as an imposition of Western values and ide-
ology. Abu-Bader and Ianchovichina, concentrating on the Middle East,
ﬁnd that third party actions, in the form of non-neutral and
non-humanitarian foreign military interventions, exacerbate social con-
ﬂict and intra-group tensions by strengthening religious polarization.
Despite these important advances, much still remains to be done in terms
of understanding how different armed groups, types of violence, patterns
of recruitment, civilian behavior and other conﬂict dynamics may affect
economic development, an issue we return to below.
Data and methods. In the last ﬁfteen years or so, signiﬁcant advances
have been made in the design, implementation and analysis of household
surveys, lab-in-the-ﬁeld experiments and impact evaluations in conﬂict-
affected countries. These advances span issues of measurement, identi-
ﬁcation, practical implementation and research ethics. For example, we
have learnt how to ask detailed and sometimes sensitive questions about
how individuals, households and communities are affected by and
respond to their exposure to conﬂict in surveys, or how to combine
different data sources to better understand the interaction between
conﬂict and development (Brück et al., 2016b). The papers in this special
issue are excellent examples of how survey data can be used to under-
stand the impact of conﬂict when combined either with historical conﬂict
data to estimate the long term effect of early age exposure to violence
(Singhal) or with geo-coded conﬂict event data on different types and use
of violence (Bertoni et al.). There have also been notable advances in the
use of impact evaluations in conﬂict-affected areas (Brown et al., 2015;
Puri et al., 2017).
More recently, international organizations and NGOs have also risen
to the challenge by, for instance, considering how to adapt programs and
interventions to conﬂict settings and studying the peacebuilding impli-
cations of otherwise standard programs (Brück et al., 2016a, b). The
subﬁeld has also become a testing ground for new technologies for data
For reviews see Bircan et al. (2017),Blattman and Miguel (2010) and Jus-
Editorial Journal of Development Economics 141 (2019) 102297
collection and analysis. Efforts have included the use of remote sensing
data to understand economic activity (Shortland et al., 2013) and
war-time crop production (Jaafar and Woertz, 2016) and the develop-
ment of crowd-seeding techniques using cell phones to track conﬂict
dynamics (Van der Windt and Humphreys, 2014). Many of these tech-
niques are also being used in peaceful settings –but their use has been
particularly pertinent where safe physical access is a critical concern.
4. Future directions
Looking ahead, we offer a short discussion of what our personal
assessment is of what journals like the Journal of Development Economics
may publish in the microeconomics of conﬂict say ﬁve years hence. This
is not meant to be normative or prescriptive –but rather what we think
may stand the test of time (and of peer review).
Theory. One upcoming area of theoretical research in the microeco-
nomics of violent conﬂict concerns the understanding of the political
economy of war zones and implications for economic development. One
particular important question, discussed throughout this paper, is how
economic decisions are made in the absence of a state that holds the
monopoly of violence and is able to enforce social contracts and protect
property rights. Evidence from conﬂict zones shows that markets and
social relations continue to operate under these contexts, sometimes with
favorable outcomes. What is lacking is a framework that may account for
how economic development processes operate under fragmented au-
thority and the threat of (different forms of) violence. Models of non-
contractual social interactions, such as those proposed in Bowles
(2004), combined with more detailed understanding of how different
conﬂict and violence dynamics play on the ground (Kalyvas, 2006), may
become useful as this area of research progresses.
Second, social psychology has had a major inﬂuence on economics
over the last decade. We expect that this trend will also shape future
research on the microeconomics of conﬂict. If past research in the sub-
ﬁeld was characterized by studying what people did and how well they
fared doing so, in the future the subjective and the psycho-social may
gain in weight as a topic. The way decision-making is affected by emo-
tions and non-cognitive factors during conﬂict, for example, is almost
virgin territory and yet critical for economic recovery and peacebuilding.
This includes better modeling of how emotions such as hatred, revenge,
envy, shame and fear, among others, may interact with each other and
with institutions to produce behavioral responses that may shape sub-
stantially political and social decisions, including the use of violence, and
economic development processes in conﬂict-affected areas. Research in
political science has shown how emotions shape violence outcomes
(Petersen, 2001;Wood, 2003). Research in economics has produced new
insights into the importance of emotions for economic theory (Loewen-
stein, 2000). In the near future, we predict to see more applications of the
role of emotions, as developed in social psychology and cognitive sci-
ence, to the microeconomics of conﬂict. One particular future area of
fruitful inquiry is the question of how endogenous social preferences
(shaped by emotions) may interact with forms of institutional change
that take place during the conﬂict to shape future conﬂict risks (Justino,
Finally, we expect to see a growth in research on the microeconomic
analysis of peacebuilding. Recent advances in political science have
emphasized the importance of micro-level processes and dynamics to
understand the sustainability of peace in the aftermath of violent con-
ﬂicts (Autesserre, 2010). These insights have led to new work in devel-
opment economics on the role of aid and development interventions in
post-conﬂict settings (Esenaliev et al., 2018). We expect these insights
will encourage more interest from development economists on issues
around the political economy of the transition from war to peace, the
delineation of how pro-social behavior during conﬂict may (or not)
foreshadow an emerging peace, the question of whether peace can be
taught or indeed learnt, and the design of institutions and state-building
processes that may facilitate peace.
Empirics. While the empirical literature in conﬂict economics is large
and growing, we still expect to see signiﬁcant bursts of work in ﬁve areas.
First, we believe we will see a large growth in studies testing if there are
‘cross-partial derivatives’, for example on effects of economic in-
terventions, such as job interventions or aid projects, on peacebuilding
and state-building outcomes. Many donor projects claim to contribute to
stabilization but fail to test this rigorously (Brück et al., 2016a;Brück and
Ferguson, 2018). We expect such claims to be tested much more exten-
sively in the future.
Second, we see a lot of mileage from extending the microeconomic
analysis of conﬂict to study other forms of political violence, such as riots
and violent protests, and other forms of violence, such as organized
crime, urban violence or domestic violence. Some methods and identi-
ﬁcation strategies can be transferred across these topics, providing po-
tential for cross-fertilization.
Third, we believe that the role of ﬁrms in conﬂict economies has been
underappreciated in recent years, despite efforts to draw attention to this
topic (Brück et al., 2013). In the private sphere, households are the
smallest institutional unit. In the market economy, ﬁrms serve this pur-
pose. It is hence surprising that households receive so much more
attention than ﬁrms, especially where market recovery is a policy
Fourth, as discussed above, we see the role of formal and informal
institutions as key to understanding conﬂict-affected economies and how
people and ﬁrms operate in them. We thus expect to see more studies
exploring the interactions between informality and conﬂict at the micro
Lastly, the linkages between violent conﬂict and other ‘public bads’,
including climate change and domestic violence, remain to be rigorously
analyzed at the micro-level, using both survey data and behavioral ex-
periments. These are grand global challenges –but based on past expe-
rience (and, for example, the work of Nobel laureate Nordhaus) there is
no reason to believe that economists cannot make rigorous contributions
to these topics, too.
Data and methods. The rapid ascent of mobile technologies, remote
sensing capacities, digitalization of previously analogue processes, big
data and machine learning techniques offers ample opportunities for
measuring and studying the causes, consequences and dynamics of con-
ﬂict at the micro level. We do not dare to predict where these journeys
will lead, but expect that these methods will be used to collect more and
better data about conﬂict dynamics, its causes and its impact on peoples'
lives and on ﬁrms. It is important, however, to issue a word of caution
that new technologies and more data should not substitute for thinking
about what conﬂict is and does to people and what the causal relations
between the key variables there may be. But it is likely that technological
advances may help provide better conﬂict forecasts and better forecasts
of related crises that conﬂict can induce, be they about food insecurity or
displacement. At the same time, we hope that the collection of more and
better survey data in conﬂict settings will not stop. We still do not
enumerate people in war as comprehensively as we do people in peace,
which entails costs in terms of individual and aggregate welfare. There
still are no demographic and health surveillance systems in conﬂict-
affected areas –and woefully few panel data studies in conﬂict-
affected, early post-conﬂict or fragile economies. All these are sorely
5. Implications for future research and policy
The discussion above illustrated how the new emerging subﬁeld on
the microeconomics of conﬂict has fruitfully contributed to development
economics in recent years. It has also led, over the last twenty years, to a
strong inclusion of political science and peace research insights into
development economics, which has made the discipline more interesting,
realistic and relevant. What are the implications of these observations for
the future of development economics?
First, we anticipate further strengthening of the impact of
Editorial Journal of Development Economics 141 (2019) 102297
development economics on policy. Over 60 percent of the world's poor
will be concentrated by 2030 in fragile and conﬂict-affected countries,
with some international agencies spending more than half of their budget
on these countries (OECD, 2016). The main contribution by the micro-
economics of conﬂict literature to such policy contexts has been the
development of rigorous data and methods to support international
development actors overcoming violent conﬂict as a development chal-
lenge. However, we continue to observe that development and humani-
tarian organizations have not yet caught up to the large increase in
knowledge in the ﬁeld of conﬂict economics. The key challenge in the
next ﬁve years will be to bring development economics to bear fruitfully
on institutional learning about what works and what does not work to the
ﬁeld of complex humanitarian emergencies, which are often shaped by
We note also two key academic implications of the new subﬁeld on
the microeconomics of conﬂict. First, the teaching of development eco-
nomics has not kept pace with the recent rapid growth on conﬂict eco-
nomics research, and university curricula will require updating to
account for this important intellectual and policy-relevant trend. Second,
we note with surprise that despite the rapid growth of top-quality
research papers being published in leading economics journals, the
subﬁeld of the microeconomics of conﬂict still does not have a proper
keyword to describe this important new research. It is about time the
American Economic Association created the new JEL Code S for the
“economics of conﬂict”.
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Editorial Journal of Development Economics 141 (2019) 102297
, Patricia Justino
, Tilman Brück
ECARES, Centre Emile Bernheim and Solvay Brussels School of Economics
and Management, Universit
e libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK
ISDC - International Security and Development Center, Berlin, Germany
Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Großbeeren, Germany
E-mail address: email@example.com (P. Verwimp).
Editorial Journal of Development Economics 141 (2019) 102297