Violent conflicts present a formidable threat to regional economies. Throughout the world, border regions in many countries are possibly impacted by the cross-border economic effects of regional insurgencies in neighboring countries or national state failures, i.e. "bad neighbors". This raises two questions. First, what is the magnitude of the spill-over economic effects of foreign conflict and what are the channels through which they operate Second, what policies can governments adopt in the potentially exposed regions to mitigate such spill-over effects. In this paper, we adopt a difference-in-difference (DiD) framework leveraging the unexpected rise of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeastern Nigeria in 2009 to study its economic effects in neighboring areas in Cameroon, Chad and Niger that were not directly targeted by Boko Haram activities. We find strong cross-border economic effects that are likely driven by reduced trade activities, not the diffusion of conflict. Factors of local economic resilience to this foreign conflict shock then include trade diversification and political and economic securitization. More generally, conflicts, if they have regional economic effects, may necessitate regional responses.
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