Creating Jobs in South Asia's Conflict Zones

54 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Lakshmi Iyer

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit

Indhira Santos

World Bank

Date Written: June 1, 2012


This paper describes the key challenges to job creation in conflict-affected environments in South Asia. It uses household survey data since the early 2000s for Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to document the characteristics of labor markets in conflict-affected areas, exploiting the spatial and time variation in armed conflict within countries. The analysis finds that, across countries, labor markets look very different in conflict-affected areas when compared with non-conflict or low-conflict areas. Employment rates are higher in large part because women participate more in the labor market, but work tends to be more vulnerable, with more self-employment and unpaid family work. The authors show that these differences often pre-date the conflict but are also exacerbated by it. They also examine the constraints on the private sector activity in such areas, using firm surveys when possible. Finally, the paper reviews the existing literature and the policy experiences of several countries to draw some policy implications for job creation efforts in the conflict-affected areas of South Asia. It particularly highlights the role of the private sector and community initiatives, in conjunction with public policies, to improve the environment for successful job creation.

Keywords: Post Conflict Reconstruction, Population Policies, Labor Markets, Environmental Economics & Policies, Rural Poverty Reduction

Suggested Citation

Iyer, Lakshmi and Santos, Indhira, Creating Jobs in South Asia's Conflict Zones (June 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6104, Available at SSRN:

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

Indhira Santos

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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