What are the costs of violence?

Start date
Thursday, 4 May 2017, 16:15
End date
Thursday, 4 May 2017, 17:30
Room 3.14, International Institute of Social Studies

Development Research Seminar (DRS) Series: Autumn/Winter 2016/2017

This paper presents estimates of the global cost of collective and interpersonal violence. This includes war, terrorism, homicides, assaults and domestic violence against women and children. The cost of conventionally defined interpersonal violence, i.e. homicides and assault, are about 7.5 times higher than the cost due to war and terrorism. I also estimate the costs of non-fatal domestic violence against children and women and suggest that these costs are much higher than the combined costs of homicide, assault, terrorism and war. The main reason is that the prevalence of these types of violence is very high: possibly as many as 16 per cent of all children are punished using violent methods and about 12 per cent of all women experience intimate partner violence. Richer societies have lower levels of violence and there is evidence that prevalence rates have been declining over time.

However, it is often unclear why this is the case. Much of the evidence from violence reducing interventions comes from high income countries and it is uncertain whether these programs would be similarly effective in low and middle income countries. Currently almost no aid is spent on programs explicitly focused on reducing violent crime and attendant problems. While further research is needed to examine the effectiveness of violence reducing interventions, it appears likely that some interventions would constitute a very effective use of resources.


Bio: Dr Anke Hoeffler is a Research Officer at the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at the University of Oxford. She holds a Diplom in Volkswirschaftslehre from the University of Würzburg and an MSc in economics from Birkbeck College, University of London. She received her DPhil in economics from the University of Oxford in 1999. Anke’s research interests are wide ranging and often interdisciplinary. Broadly she is interested in the macroeconomics of developing countries and political economy issues, but has a specific interest in the economics of violence. Most recent publications include work on elections in the Journal of Peace Research and the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics. Anke has also contributed to the 'Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics: Context and Concepts' and 'Economic Aspects of Genocide, Mass Killing, and Their Prevention', both published by Oxford University Press. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled “The Global Costs of Violence” (with James Fearon).



Publication date: 28 October 2016