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Does inequality lead to civil wars? A global long-term study using anthropometric indicators (1816–1999)

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  • Baten, Joerg
  • Mumme, Christina

Abstract

We test for the influence of absolute and relative deprivation — proxied by anthropometric methods — on civil war risk. A comprehensive height data set allows us to go back to 1816 for a global sample. We measure absolute deprivation using human stature and we use height inequality within birth cohorts to measure relative deprivation. We take care that selectivity caused by missing values does not bias the results. We find that relative economic deprivation within populations (i.e., inequality) had a strong and consistent impact on the propensity to start civil wars. By contrast, absolute deprivation was significant in most but not all specifications. We also attend to potential endogeneity through instrumental variables.

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  • Baten, Joerg & Mumme, Christina, 2013. "Does inequality lead to civil wars? A global long-term study using anthropometric indicators (1816–1999)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 56-79.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:32:y:2013:i:c:p:56-79
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2013.06.007
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    2. Çağatay Bircan & Tilman Brück & Marc Vothknecht, 2017. "Violent conflict and inequality," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 125-144, April.
    3. Galofré-Vilà, Gregori, 2018. "Growth and maturity: A quantitative systematic review and network analysis in anthropometric history," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 107-118.
    4. Asongu, Simplice & Tchamyou, Vanessa & Asongu, Ndemaze & Tchamyou, Nina, 2019. "Fighting terrorism in Africa when existing terrorism levels matter," MPRA Paper 102026, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    8. Simplice Asongu & Vanessa Tchamyou & Ndemaze Asongu & Nina Tchamyou, 2017. "The Comparative African Economics of Inclusive Development and Military Expenditure in Fighting Terrorism," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association (AFEA), vol. 19(2), pages 77-91.
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    10. Schaff, Felix, 2020. "When ‘the state made war’, what happened to economic inequality? Evidence from preindustrial Germany (c.1400-1800)," Economic History Working Papers 107046, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    11. Baten, Joerg & Llorca-Jaña, Manuel, 2021. "Inequality, low-intensity immigration and human capital formation in the regions of Chile, 1820-1939," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Civil wars; Anthropometric welfare indices; Economic deprivation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative

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