Instrumenting the effect of terrorism on education in Kenya

by Simon Goerlach and Marco Alfano


The paper estimates the causal effect of terrorism on schooling in Kenya. 

  • For causal identification, the timing and location of terrorist attacks by al-Shabaab are predicted by exploiting the group’s revenue streams and its links to al-Qaeda. In doing so, the paper also documents a high degree of coordination between al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; both organizations striking similar targets in the same week. 

  • The positive bias in difference-in-differences-type estimators compared to the IV suggests that terrorists target areas when they are on an upward trend.

  • We estimate that each attack keeps about 700 children in the same county out of school.