As part of the Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar series, the International Economics Department at the Graduate Institute is pleased to invite you to a public talk given by Philip Verwimp, Professor of Development Economics at Université Libre de Bruxelles.
He will present his work titled Childhood Exposure to Civil War and Teenage Cognitive Development: Age-at-test, Test Scores and the Timing of Shocks.
Abstract: This paper uses tests scores from the Concours National in Burundi, a nationwide competitive exam taken at the end of primary school, consisting of four academic disciplines, for the period 2010-2012 to infer the effect of civil war on cognitive development. These data are combined with exposure to civil war at different stages in childhood. I find that teenagers exposed in childhood take the test at a later age and perform worse at the test, with girl’s performance more affected than boys for math and sciences but not for foreign and native languages. I distinguish scarring and school trajectory effects from direct cognitive effects. Shocks in early infancy appear to have strong cognitive impact whereas shocks in late infancy impact the trajectory more. The paper finds evidence for a gender selection mechanism in utero and at birth.
About the speaker
Philip Verwimp is a Professor of Development Economics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He studied economics at the University of Antwerp (BA, MA) and KU Leuven (PhD) and sociology at KU Leuven (BA) and Georg-August Univ. Göttingen (MA). He was a Fellow of the Belgian-American Educational Foundation (in 1998-1999) and a Fulbright-Hays Fellow (in 2004), both at Yale University, and he worked for the World Bank as a Poverty Economist. His specialisation is in the economic causes and consequences of conflict at the micro-level. He is currently engaged in longitudinal studies of health, schooling and nutrition in Burundi where he is the lead researcher in a partnership between ULB and UNICEF-Burundi, involving a.o. impact evaluation. At ULB he is also a senior fellow at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Healthcare (I3h).