The Long Run Impact of Bombing Vietnam
NBER Working Paper No. 11954
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, and use an instrumental variable approach exploiting distance to the 17th parallel demilitarized zone. U.S. bombing does not have a robust negative impact on poverty rates, consumption levels, infrastructure, literacy or population density through 2002. This finding suggests that local 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.
Published: Miguel, Edward & Roland, Gérard, 2011. "The long-run impact of bombing Vietnam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 1-15, September.