Methods for Measuring Aggregate Costs of Conflict
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This paper reviews the methods for measuring the economic cost of conflict. Estimating the economic costs of conflict requires a counterfactual calculation, which makes this a very difficult task. Social researchers have resorted to different estimation methods depending on the particular effect in question. The method used in each case depends on the units being analyzed (firms, sectors, regions or countries), the outcome variable under study (aggregate output, market valuation of firms, market shares, etc.) and data availability (a single cross-section, time series or panel data). This paper reviews existing methods used in the literature to assess the economic impact of conflict: cost accounting, cross-section methods, time series methods, panel data methods, gravity models, event studies, natural experiments and comparative case studies. The paper ends with a discussion of cost estimates and directions for further research.