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“Environmental Protection after Civil War: A Difference-in-Geographic-Discontinuity Approach” Kyosuke Kikuta and Yuta Kamahara

September 30, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Authors: Kyosuke Kikuta (Osaka University) and Yuta Kamahara (Yokohama National University).

Abstract: Despite the fact that civil war devastates the environment, we still do not understand the roles of environmental policies in post-conflict countries, often having a pessimistic view without empirical evidence. We challenge this view by arguing that the introduction of independent monitoring mechanisms can make environmental regulations effective even in a post-conflict country. We substantiate this claim by exploiting analytical opportunities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2013, the government implemented independent monitoring mechanisms to lessen the side-effects of mining activities on deforestation. The reform was, however, applicable only to mining permits, which had arbitrary square shapes. By combining a geographic regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference to what we call a difference-in-geographic-discontinuity (DiGD), and using satellite-based data that are available at every 30 meters for over 40 million cells in the DRC, we find that the 2013 reform substantially decreased deforestation rates immediately inside the mining permits. This finding implies that the environmental effects of civil war can crucially depend on post-conflict policies.

Discussants: Luke Keele (Pennsylvania) and Renard Sexton (Emory).

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