Back to top

Effects of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Education on Conflict Intensity in Africa

Julius A Agbor
Publication date: 
May 2013

This study investigates the impact of different dimensions of schooling education (primary, secondary and tertiary enrolment) on the intensity of intra-state conflicts in Africa during 1989-2008. It uses fixed-effects regressions in a panel framework and annual data for 25 African countries. Parameter estimates provide clear evidence that schooling education (irrespective of the dimension considered) reduces the intensity of conflicts in Africa and the channels of transmission vary according to the education dimension considered. While primary schooling works mainly through urbanization; secondary and tertiary schooling reduces conflict through both the urbanization and youth bulge channels. These results suggest that in order to reduce conflict intensity in Africa, policy makers should facilitate the urbanization of a great number of African school leavers; while at the same time raising the number of African youths with secondary and tertiary education. However, the findings also suggest that secondary schooling potentially intensifies conflict intensity through the democratization channel implying that efforts to expand secondary education in Africa need to go in tandem with the rapid entrenchment of democratic institutions. Disaggregating the sample into “Conflict-prone” versus “less Conflict-prone” countries generally confirmed the core finding that all education dimensions are important in reducing conflict intensity in Africa but no insightful results were obtained on the likely channels of transmission. Further research should consider a more robust investigating of this issue while also differentiating the impacts of education dimensions on conflict in “high income” versus “low income” countries.

Publication PDF: 
Series title: 
Working paper 347