Education and Conflict: What the Evidence Says

Policy brief

Østby, Gudrun & Henrik Urdal (2011) Education and Conflict: What the Evidence Says, CSCW Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.

This policy brief summarizes the key conclusions from the first sys-tematic review of the empirical, quantitative literature on the relation-ship between education and civil conflict.

Evidence from 30 statistical studies indicates that

  • Increasing education levels overall has pacifying effects
  • Rapid expansion of higher education is not a threat
  • Education inequalities between groups increase conflict risk
  • The content and quality of education might spur conflict
  • Terrorists are well-above-average educated

The policy recommendations in this brief emerge from consulting work conducted for UNESCO's 2011 Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report. We recommend that (a) future research pay increas-ing attention to subnational and individual level effects; (b) new data be collected to study how conflict is affected by the content and quality of education; and (c) policies be implemented to reduce education ine-qualities.

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