Growth Brief: The cost of violence – Estimating the economic impact of conflict

Alongside its dire humanitarian costs, armed conflict poses a range of risks to a country’s economic growth and development. Measuring the economic impacts of violence matters because it can inform resilience strategies and drive resources toward conflict prevention.

Fragile states often struggle to maintain resilience to conflict and other shocks; conflict, economic instability, poverty, and fragility tend to feed each other in a negative cycle. Recurrence of violence is the largest threat to long-term growth and development in conflict-affected countries.

This brief reviews some of the latest research measuring the causal effects of violent conflict on a range of economic outcomes. It outlines the different channels and mechanisms through which conflict can affect growth. The aim is to help guide policymakers on what can be done before, during, and after conflict to mitigate its effects.

Key findings: