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Poverty and Civil War: Revisiting the evidence

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  • Djankov, Simeon
  • Reynal-Querol, Marta

Abstract

A popular "stylized fact" is that poverty is a main determinant of civil war: several scholars have interpreted the correlation between the two as evidence supporting this claim. In this paper, we find that the relationship between poverty and civil war is spurious, and is accounted for by historical phenomena that jointly determine income evolution and conflict. In particular, the statistical association between poverty, as proxied by income per capita, and civil wars disappears once we include country fixed effects. Also, using cross-section data for 1960-2005, we find that once historical variables like European settler mortality rates and the population density in 1500 are included in civil war regressions, poverty does not have an effect on civil wars. These results are confirmed using longer time series from 1825 to 2000.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6980.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6980

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Keywords: Civil War; Income;

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  1. Alberto Abadie, 2006. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 50-56, May.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-42, June.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2007. "Reevaluating the Modernization Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 13334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
  5. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
  6. Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2003. "Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
  7. Jos� G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
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  1. Conflicts and Economic Development
    by Dany Jaimovich - Bakary Baludin in Development Therapy on 2013-03-04 14:32:00
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Cited by:
  1. Maystadt, Jean-François & Trinh Tan, Jean-François & Breisinger, Clemens, 2012. "Does Food Security Matter for Transition in Arab Countries?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1196, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Serneels , Pieter & Verpoorten , Marijke, 2012. "The impact of armed conflict on economic performance. Evidence from Rwanda," NEPS Working Papers 5/2012, Network of European Peace Scientists.
  3. Leon, G., 2012. "Loyalty for Sale? Military Spending and Coups d'Etat," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1209, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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