Using an “event-study” methodology, this paper analyzes the aftermath of civil war in a cross-section of countries. It focuses on those experiences where the end of conflict marks the beginning of a relatively lasting peace. The paper considers 41 countries involved in internal wars in the period 1960-2003. In order to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the aftermath of war, the paper considers a host of social areas represented by basic indicators of economic performance, health and education, political development, demographic trends, and conflict and security issues. For each of these indicators, the paper first compares the post- and pre-war situations and then examines their dynamic trends during the post-conflict period. It conducts this analysis both in absolute and relative terms, the latter in relation to control groups of otherwise similar countries. The paper concludes that, even though war has devastating effects and its aftermath can be immensely difficult, when the end of war marks the beginning of lasting peace, recovery and improvement are indeed achieved.
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