The Consequences of Child Soldiering

  • Citation: Annan, Jeannie, and Chris Blattman. “The Consequences of Child Soldiering.” Review of Economics and Statistics 92, no. 4 (2010): 882-898.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Keywords:
    • Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Uganda
    • combat
    • Ugandan youth
    • child soldiering
    • psychosocial outcomes
    • education and labor market outcomes

Little is known about the impacts of military service on human capital and labor market outcomes due to an absence of data as well as sample selection: recruits are self-selected, screened, and selectively survive. We examine the case of Uganda, where rebel recruitment methods provide exogenous variation in conscription. Economic and educational impacts are widespread and persistent: schooling falls by nearly a year, skilled employment halves, and earnings drop by a third. Military service seems to be a poor substitute for schooling. Psychological distress is evident among those exposed to severe war violence and is not limited to excombatants.

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