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External shocks, internal shots: the geography of civil conflicts

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  • Berman, Nicolas
  • Couttenier, Mathieu

Abstract

This paper uses detailed information on the latitude and longitude of conflict events in Sub-Saharan African countries to study the impact of external income shocks on the likelihood of violence. We consider a number of external demand shocks faced by the countries or the regions within countries - temporary shocks such as changes in the world demand for agricultural commodities, and longer-lasting events such as financial crises in the partner countries - and combine these with information reflecting the natural level of trade openness of the location. We find that (i) the incidence, intensity and onset of conflicts are generally negatively and significantly correlated with income variations at the local level; (ii) this relationship is significantly weaker for the most remote locations, i.e those located away from the main seaports, (iii) at the country-level, these shocks have an insignificant impact on the overall probability of conflict outbreak, but do affect the probability that conflicts start in the most opened regions. Altogether, our results therefore suggest that external income shocks are important determinants of the intensity and geography of conflicts, and provide support in favor of the opportunity cost theories of war.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9895.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9895

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Keywords: civil war; conflict; income shocks;

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References

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  1. Garth Frazer & Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "Trade Growth under the African Growth and Opportunity Act," NBER Working Papers 13222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Garfinkel, Michelle R. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2007. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier.
  3. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
  4. Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Thoenig, Mathias, 2008. "Civil Wars and International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6659, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Yu-Hsiang Lei & Guy Michaels, 2011. "Do giant oilfield discoveries fuel internal armed conflicts?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48088, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
  7. Anca Cotet & Kevin K. Tsui, 2010. "Oil and Conflict: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," Working Papers 201002, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2010.
  8. Antonin Aviat & Nicolas Coeurdacier, 2004. "The geography of trade in goods and asset holdings," DELTA Working Papers 2004-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2009. "International Commodity Prices, Growth, and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2009-37, FEDEA.
  10. Mathieu Couttenier & Raphael Soubeyran, 2010. "Drought and Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 10-13, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2012.
  11. Chassang, Sylvain & Miquel, Gerard Padró i, 2009. "Economic Shocks and Civil War," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 211-228, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicolas Berman & Philippe Martin, 2012. "The Vulnerability of Sub-Saharan Africa to Financial Crises: The Case of Trade," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 60(3), pages 329-364, September.
  2. Hannes Mueller & Dominic Rohner & David Schoenholzer, 2013. "Tectonic Boundaries and Strongholds: The Religious Geography of Violence in Northern Ireland," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 13.04, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  3. Hannes Mueller, 2014. "Growth and Violence: Argument for a Per Capita Measure of Civil War," Working Papers 756, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

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