Oleg POLIVIN's PhD defense November 20th

November 20, 2017 Campus

Oleg POLIVIN will defend his thesis on "Essays in Economics of Civil Conflicts and Terrorism against Energy Infrastructure " on Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 11am, Room MF 323. 

Director: Jean-Paul AZAM, TSE researcher and UT Capitole Professor.

Memberships are:

  • Lisa CHAUVET, Research Fellow, Institut de recherche pour le développement
  • Krisztina KIS-KATOS, Professor, University of Göttingen 
  • Stéphane  STRAUB, Professor, TSE

Oil price shocks and violence in Colombia: A story told by pipelines
The main line of research in literature on conflicts was concentrated on finding the relationship between natural resources and conflict. In this paper, I argue that natural resources have limited value if they cannot be delivered to the consumer. The most common and effective means of delivering oil or gas from the oilfields are the pipelines, and anecdotal evidence suggests that they are targeted a lot by different armed groups worldwide. In particular, this is true for Colombia where the leftist guerrillas are constantly reported to target the energy infrastructure. I study how pipelines shape the civil conflict in Colombia. Presumably, the placement of the actual pipeline system is endogenous to the conflict, and to overcome this problem I build a hypothetical pipeline system. The distance from a municipality to this hypothetical pipeline system is used as an instrument for the actual distance, and I show that in response to oil prices shocks, the municipalities located closer to the pipelines experience a differentially larger activity of the FARC rebels, while the distance is not important in explaining the behaviour of the ELN or the paramilitaries groups.
II. Can Media Freedom Protect Energy Infrastructure?
Modern warfare is often indirect: rebel groups are normally too weak to fight the state’s army in an open conflict, while the main problem of the government is to find the hideout of the rebels or identify their supporters. In this paper, I show that there is a strong correlation between media freedom and attacks against energy infrastructure. In particular, countries with freer media experience less attacks against their energy infrastructure. However, I go beyond the correlations in order to study the causal relationship between media oppression and energy infrastructure attacks. I introduce a novel and plausibly exogenous instrument for media oppression which is the average proven oil reserves in neighbouring countries. It follows from the estimation results that there is no causal relationship between media oppression and attacks against energy infrastructure which is in line with recent research finding no robust relationship between democracy and terrorism.

III. Incentivizing Schooling with the College Dream: Evidence from China’s College Expansion
Schooling is a sequential investment such that the option of obtaining higher-level education is crucial. When college capacity is limited, college expansion increases students’ prospect of going to college and thus incentivizes them to enroll in secondary school. This paper present evidence from China’s college expansion during 1989–2010. Beyond the 9 years of compulsory education, upper secondary education, grades 10-12, is optional but required for college admission. The system makes each province essentially an independent market where students only compete with within-province peers for admission at all colleges in the country. Exploring provincial variations in college enrollment quota with an instrumental-variable approach, we find the total enrollment rate in upper secondary education increases when college expands. Based on the estimation results, we discuss counterfactual policies, for example, allocating college enrollment quota to each province proportional to population.