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Climate and Civil War: Is the Relationship Robust?

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Author Info

  • Marshall Burke
  • John Dykema
  • David Lobell
  • Edward Miguel
  • Shanker Satyanath

Abstract

A recent paper by Burke et al. (henceforth “we”) finds a strong historical relationship between warmer- than-average temperatures and the incidence of civil war in Africa (Burke et al. 2009). These findings have recently been challenged by Buhaug (2010) who finds fault with how we controlled for other potential explanatory variables, how we coded civil wars, and with our choice of historical time period and climate dataset. We demonstrate that Buhaug’s proposed method of controlling for confounding variables has serious econometric shortcomings and show that our original findings are robust to the use of different climate data and to alternate codings of major war. Using Buhaug’s preferred climate data under sound econometric assumptions yields results that suggest an even stronger relationship between temperature and conflict for the 1981-2002 period than we originally reported. We do find that our historical relationship between temperature and conflict weakens over the last decade, a period of unprecedented African economic growth and very few large wars.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16440.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16440

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Cited by:
  1. Christine Valente, 2011. "What did the Maoists ever do for us? Education and marriage of women exposed to civil conflict in Nepal," Working Papers 2011009, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2011.
  2. Almer, Christian & Laurent-Lucchetti, Jérémy & oechslin, Manuel, 2011. "Income shocks and social unrest: theory and evidence," MPRA Paper 34426, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig & Fabrizio Zilibottix, 2011. "War Signals: A Theory of Trade, Trust and Conflict," HiCN Working Papers 95, Households in Conflict Network.
  4. Antonio David & Fabiano Rodrigues Bastos & Marshall Mills, 2011. "Post-Conflict Recovery," IMF Working Papers 11/149, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Thomas Markussen & Kitavi Mbuvi, 2011. "When Does Ethnic Diversity Lead to Violence? Evidence from the 2007 Elections in Kenya," Discussion Papers 11-19, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  6. Bove, Vincenzo & Sekeris, Petros, 2011. "Economic Determinants of Third-Party Intervention in Civil Conflict," NEPS Working Papers 4/2011, Network of European Peace Scientists.
  7. Singh, Prakarsh, 2011. "Impact of terrorism on investment decisions of farmers: evidence from the Punjab insurgency," MPRA Paper 33328, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2011. "The Long-Term Direct and External Effects of Jewish Expulsions in Nazi Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 5850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Maria Vera-Cabello & Marcos Sanso-Navarro & Fernando Sanz, 2011. "The impact of the American Civil War on city growth," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1514, European Regional Science Association.

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