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The economic effects of violent conflict: Evidence from asset market reactions

  • Massimo Guidolin

    (Manchester Business School, MAFG, and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Eliana La Ferrara


    (Bocconi University, IGIER)

This article studies the effects of conflict onset on asset markets applying the event study methodology. The authors consider a sample of 101 internal and inter-state conflicts during the period 1974-2004 and find that a sizeable fraction of them has had a significant impact on stock market indices, exchange rates, oil and commodity prices. This fraction is inconsistent with pure chance, that is, with the selected probability of type-I errors in our tests of statistical significance. The results suggest that, on average, national stock markets are more likely to display positive than negative reactions to conflict onset. When the authors distinguish between internal and inter-state conflicts, they find that the fraction of significant results is higher for international conflicts. When the authors classify events according to the region where they occur, they find that Asia and the Middle East are the regions where conflicts tend to have the strongest effects. Finally, the article reports evidence that abnormal returns would have accrued to investors systematically exploiting conflict onset to implement conflict-driven strategies. Results are robust to selecting a subset of high-intensity conflicts and to expanding the time window over which conflict events are defined. The findings of the article confirm the economic importance of the effects of conflicts on asset markets.

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Article provided by Peace Research Institute Oslo in its journal Journal of Peace Research.

Volume (Year): 47 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 671-684

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Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:6:p:671-684
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  1. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  2. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  3. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2001. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case-Control Study for the Basque Country," NBER Working Papers 8478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Rigobon, Roberto & Sack, Brian, 2005. "The effects of war risk on US financial markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1769-1789, July.
  6. Massimo Guidolin & Eliana La Ferrara, 2007. "Diamonds Are Forever, Wars Are Not: Is Conflict Bad for Private Firms?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1978-1993, December.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 4486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2009. "Using Markets to Inform Policy: The Case of the Iraq War," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(302), pages 225-250, 04.
  9. Svensson, Jakob, 1998. "Investment, property rights and political instability: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1317-1341, July.
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  11. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
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