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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Economic behaviour during conflict : education and labour market participation in Internally Displaced People's camps in Northern Uganda Lehrer, Kim Jamie


This dissertation investigates men and women's labour force participation and children's education outcomes using original data collected in Ugandan Internally Displaced People's (IDP) camps in 2005 and 2007. The random nature of the conflict and mass displacement in the region is exploited to identify their impacts on behaviour. Furthermore, a randomized trial of two alternative food for education programs implemented in the IDP camps is evaluated. The impacts of the programs on primary school participation, cognitive development, and learning achievement are investigated. The first chapter introduces the dissertation and explores the research setting by detailing the randomized school feeding experiment and the data collection process. It considers the context in which the data was collected, focusing on the conflict in the region at the time. The second chapter uses this unique data set and the exogenous nature of the conflict and resulting displacement in Northern Uganda to examine their impacts on labour market participation. I find that the longer the existence of the camp to which people moved, the less men work. In contrast, women's labour market decisions are not influenced by the age of the Internally Displaced People's camp in which they live. I argue that these responses result from the development of gender-specific social norms regarding idleness and not from a lack of opportunities. A decline in the percentage of men working in a camp leads to a reduction in the probability that a given man works. The third and fourth chapters provide solid empirical evidence of the educational impacts of two food for education programs. Joint with my co-authors, I compare education outcomes between three randomly assigned groups: Beneficiaries of an in-school meals program, beneficiaries of a take-home rations program providing equivalent food transfers conditional on school attendance, and a control group. The findings suggest that, in general, both programs performed equally well in improving school participation. While access to both programs improved cognition, the impacts on learning achievement are not as strong.

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