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Climate (change) and conflict: resolving a puzzle of association and causation

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  • Christian Almer
  • Stefan Boes

Abstract

There is an ongoing discussion especially among political scientists and economists whether and how climate variability affects civil conflicts and wars in developing countries. Given the predicted climatic changes, several studies argue that increasing temperatures or decreasing precipitation will lead to more conflicts in the future. This paper aims at linking the different strands of the literature by analyzing the causal mechanisms at work. We use short-term weather variability as well as long-term changes in Sub-Saharan Africa and find that climate (change) significantly affects agricultural output, to some extent also GDP, and has no robust direct effects on civil wars. Negative shocks in GDP, however, have the expected fostering effects on civil conflicts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft in its series Diskussionsschriften with number dp1203.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp1203

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Keywords: Civil conflict; climate change; economic shocks; Africa;

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References

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  1. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
  2. Carro, Jesus M., 2007. "Estimating dynamic panel data discrete choice models with fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 503-528, October.
  3. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Iván Fernández-Val & Frank Vella, 2007. "Bias corrections for two-step fixed effects panel data estimators," CeMMAP working papers CWP04/07, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Kudamatsu, Masayuki & Persson, Torsten & Strömberg, David, 2012. "Weather and Infant Mortality in Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 9222, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  8. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2005. "Instrumental Variables Estimation With Panel Data," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(04), pages 865-869, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Solomon Hsiang & Marshall Burke, 2014. "Climate, conflict, and social stability: what does the evidence say?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 39-55, March.

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