Political Violence and Youth Bulges - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Political Violence and Youth Bulges

Hosam Ibrahim

June, 2019


24 pages

N50. General; International; or Comparative
Q34. Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
D74. Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
E. Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

This paper investigates the relationship between domestic political conflict and youth bulges in economically stagnant societies. Considering the growing debate on population pressures and resource scarcity, their combined effect, I would argue, will likely increase the risk of violence. In this context, this paper estimates the heterogenous economic effect of large young cohorts on the likelihood of anti-government demonstrations, riots, guerrilla warfare, coups and civil wars. Using panel data on conflict, polity and demographic and economic characteristics, this paper’s contribution is twofold. First, is to estimate the effect of youth bulges on political violence, where the latter is modelled as a continuum process (in terms of scale). Second, I assess the extent to which the impact of youth bulges on political violence might depend on the level of youth unemployment and education. I find robust positive effect of youth bulges on the different forms of political violence, particularly violence involving mass public participation. Such effect increases with the intensity of the violence outcome. Furthermore, the effect of youth bulges substantially hinges on high youth unemployment and education.

Hosam Ibrahim

Senior Research Assistant at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)



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