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The Long Run Impact of Bombing Vietnam

by Edward Miguel and Gérard Roland. Reading for week of June 7, 2005.

We investigate the impact of U.S. bombing on later economic development in Vietnam.  The Vietnam War featured the most intense bombing campaign in military history, and had massive humanitarian costs.  We use a unique U.S.  military dataset containing bombing intensity at the district level (N=584).  We compare the heavily bombed districts to other districts, controlling for baseline demographic characteristics and district geographic factors.  U.S.  bombing does not have a robust statistically significant negative impact on poverty rates, consumption levels, infrastructure, literacy or population density through 2002.  This finding suggest that recovery from war damage can be rapid under certain conditions, although further work is needed to establish the generality of the finding in other settings.


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