Ethno-religious diversity and recovery after conflict in post-ISIL Iraq: a geospatial approach
- Type of resource
- Date created
- May 12, 2019
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This is the Stanford University Program on International Relations Honors Thesis Collection. Students conduct a major independent research project under faculty guidance, submit a thesis at the end of their senior year., This is the Stanford University Program on International Relations Honors Thesis Collection. Students conduct a major independent research project under faculty guidance, submit a thesis at the end of their senior year.
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After domestic conflict, why do some settlements recover faster than others? The problem of post-conflict reconstruction regularly attracts billions of aid dollars and carries hefty humanitarian and security implications, but little empirical work has focused on what causes differences in post-conflict recovery at the sub-state level. I explore the variation in recovery speed among Iraqi villages after the 2014-2017 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) insurgency and focus primarily on the role of ethno-religious diversity in explaining the differences. Using satellite-observed nighttime light emissions as a proxy for economic activity, I construct an 81-month panel of economic output in 351 Iraqi settlements occupied by ISIL. This information is combined with settlement-level data on ethno-religious composition. In spatial autoregression and generalized synthetic control approaches, I evaluate the causal effect of ethno-religious diversity on post-conflict recovery across space and time. The results show that diversity has a large and significant negative influence on recovery. This result is robust to a variety of different specifications, and the magnitude of the effect grows over time. I argue that diversity slows reconstruction because it alters the local dynamics of security and cooperation and alters the strategies of local elites. Broadly, my findings support constructivist views on identity which suggest ethnic and religious identities can become “activated” in certain social conditions.
- Preferred Citation
- Lyall, Lloyd . (2019). Ethno-religious diversity and recovery after conflict in post-ISIL Iraq: a geospatial approach . Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: https://purl.stanford.edu/qb151vz4409
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