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Climate and Conflict

Author

Listed:
  • Marshall Burke

    (Department of Earth System Science, and Center on Food Security and the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305)

  • Solomon M. Hsiang

    (Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
    National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)

  • Edward Miguel

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
    National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)

Abstract

We review the emerging literature on climate and conflict. We consider multiple types of human conflict, including both interpersonal conflict, such as assault and murder, and intergroup conflict, including riots and civil war. We discuss key methodological issues in estimating causal relationships and largely focus on natural experiments that exploit variation in climate over time. Using a hierarchical meta-analysis that allows us to both estimate the mean effect and quantify the degree of variability across 55 studies, we find that deviations from moderate temperatures and precipitation patterns systematically increase conflict risk. Contemporaneous temperature has the largest average impact, with each 1σ increase in temperature increasing interpersonal conflict by 2.4% and intergroup conflict by 11.3%. We conclude by highlighting research priorities, including a better understanding of the mechanisms linking climate to conflict, societies’ ability to adapt to climatic changes, and the likely impacts of future global warming.

Suggested Citation

  • Marshall Burke & Solomon M. Hsiang & Edward Miguel, 2015. "Climate and Conflict," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 577-617, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:7:y:2015:p:577-617
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    File URL: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-economics-080614-115430
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    violence; crime; weather; econometrics; meta-analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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