10 de octubre: Emilio Depetris, UC

Paper: Borderline Disorder: (De facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa”.

Expositor: Emilio Depetris, PUC
Fecha: Miércoles 10 de octubre de 2018
Hora: 13:00 horas a 14:00 horas.
Lugar: Avda. Santa Clara N° 797,
Campus Ciudad Empresarial,
Sala C-302 – Edificio Cubo


We explore the effect of historical ethnic borders on contemporary conflict in Africa. In particular, using artificial regions (i.e., grids of 5050 km), we document that both the intensive and extensive margins of contemporary conflict are concentrated in the proximity of historical ethnic borders. To mitigate concerns due to non-random assignment and potential mismeasurement of historical ethnic borders, we follow an instrumental variable approach that exploits variations in potential ethnic borders generated by a plausibly exogenous ethno-spatial partition of Africa. We find that grid-cells with historical ethnic borders have 23 percentage points higher probability to experience conflict events and 6 percentage points higher probability of being the initial location of a conflict. Our results hold across different types of conflict and are robust to accounting for country and ethnicity fixed-effects, a large set of geographical confounders, other sources of conflict, and variations in cell-sizes. Additionally, we find that geographical characteristics that are complementary to border demarcation mitigate the effects of historical borders on contemporary conflict, suggesting that tangibility, observability and immutability of ethnic borders may prevent conflict.