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Poverty and Civil War: Revisiting the Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Simeon Djankov

    (World Bank and CEPR)

  • Marta Reynal-Querol

    (ICREA, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, CEPR, and CESifo)

Abstract

Previous research has interpreted the correlation between per capita income and civil war as evidence that poverty is a main determinant of conflict. In this paper, we find that the relationship between poverty and civil war is spurious and is accounted for by historical phenomena that jointly determine income evolution and conflict. In particular, the statistical association between poverty and civil wars disappears once we include country fixed effects. Also, using cross-section data for 1960 to 2000, we find that once historical variables like European settler mortality rates and the population density in 1500 are included in civil war regressions, poverty does not have an effect on civil wars. These results are confirmed using longer time series from 1825 to 2000. (c) 2010 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Simeon Djankov & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2010. "Poverty and Civil War: Revisiting the Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 1035-1041, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:92:y:2010:i:4:p:1035-1041
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. José G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:01:p:75-90_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alberto Abadie, 2006. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 50-56, May.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-842, June.
    5. Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2003. "Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
    6. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A. & Yared, Pierre, 2009. "Reevaluating the modernization hypothesis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1043-1058, November.
    7. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
    8. 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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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Conflicts and Economic Development
      by Dany Jaimovich - Bakary Baludin in Development Therapy on 2013-03-04 20:32:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Ciccone, 2018. "International Commodity Prices and Civil War Outbreak: New Evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa and Beyond," CESifo Working Paper Series 6866, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Fenske, James & Kala, Namrata, 2017. "1807: Economic shocks, conflict and the slave trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 66-76.
    3. Eoin McGuirk & Marshall Burke, 2017. "The Economic Origins of Conflict in Africa," NBER Working Papers 23056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gabriel Leon, 2014. "Loyalty for sale? Military spending and coups d’etat," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 363-383, June.
    5. Roberto Ezcurra & Beatriz Manotas, 2015. "Does globalization promote civil war? An empirical research," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1501, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    6. Maystadt, Jean-François & Trinh Tan, Jean-François & Breisinger, Clemens, 2014. "Does food security matter for transition in Arab countries?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 106-115.
    7. Pieter Serneels & Marijke Verpoorten, 2012. "The impact of armed conflict on economic performance: Evidence from Rwanda," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-10, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    8. Antonio Ciccone, 2018. "International Commodity Prices and Civil War Outbreak: New Evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa and Beyond," Working Papers 1016, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    9. Becken, Susanne & Carmignani, Fabrizio, 2016. "Does tourism lead to peace?," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 63-79.
    10. Achim Ahrens, 2015. "Civil conflicts in Africa: Climate, economic shocks, nighttime lights and spill-over effects," SEEC Discussion Papers 1501, Spatial Economics and Econometrics Centre, Heriot Watt University.
    11. Albornoz, Facundo & Hauk, Esther, 2014. "Civil war and U.S. foreign influence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 64-78.
    12. Richard S. J. Tol, 2016. "The Impacts Of Climate Change According To The Ipcc," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(01), pages 1-20, February.
    13. Janus, Thorsten & Riera-Crichton, Daniel, 2015. "Economic shocks, civil war and ethnicity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 32-44.
    14. Antonio Ciccone, 2018. "International commodity prices and civil war outbreak: new evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond," Economics Working Papers 1596, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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