Violence as an Obstacle to Development

Jul 1999
This document is one of a series of technical notes that describe the nature and magnitude of violence in the region, its causes and effects, and how it can be prevented and controlled. The notes provide useful information on designing programs and policies to prevent and deal with violence. This note focuses on the economic and non-economic costs of violence. The authors show how violence impedes economic development. From a macroeconomic point of view, violence reduces foreign and domestic investment as well as domestic savings, thus hindering prospects for long term growth. From the microeconomic standpoint, one of the effects of violence is to dissuade individuals from investing time and money in education; it may deter some people from attending night school out of fear of becoming a victim of violent crime, or it may even induce some individuals to turn to a life of crime instead of completing their education. Domestic violence against women and children is also a stumbling block to economic development. Tending to the consequences of both domestic and social violence cuts into the scarce resources available to society.