Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dan Myers, John Wassom, William Davis

Degree Program

Department of Economics

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Conflict entails numerous sacrifices in human resources in addition to loss of life, while it is difficult to appraise the real cost of conflict, one can determine the number of fatalities. It is the primary goal of this thesis to develop an accounting technique by which the human capital cost of fatalities due to the Northern Ireland Conflict may be measured in an accepted unit of account. While the development of a model for measuring human capital loss is in itself an important part of the study, the ultimate objective is to arrive at an estimate of the human capital cost of subversive deaths in Northern Ireland.

In this analysis a representative individual is used to estimate human capital loss. The expected earnings stream over the relevant number of earnings period, discounted at the appropriate rate of interest and accounting for the probability of death and unemployment within these periods is the definition given to the value of the human capital stock of an individual. The primary data used in this study is that which recorded fatalities due to the conflict.

Considering that human capital is an important input in the production function and that conflict tends to destroy the more productive portion of the human capital stock, the long-run effect of losses due to continuing strife and conflict are as yet unknown. In the short-run, however, the conflict is known to exert a heavy toll on the Northern Ireland economy. As of April 1990, the total human capital loss estimate of subversive deaths resulting from the Northern Ireland conflict were £186,993,266 for security forces and £400,493,890 for civilians, resulting in a total estimated loss of £587,487,156.


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