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Drought and Civil War In Sub‐Saharan Africa

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  • Mathieu Couttenier
  • Raphael Soubeyran

Abstract

We show that civil war is strongly related to drought in sub-Saharan Africa. We consider the e ect of variations in the Palmer Drought Severity Index (Palmer 1965) - a cumulative index that combines precipitation, temperature and the local characteristics of the soil - on the risk of civil war. While the recent, contentious debate on the link between climate and civil war has mainly focused on precipitation and temperature, without obtaining converging results, the Palmer index describes social exposure to water stress in a more ecient way. We show that it is a key factor of civil war in sub-Saharan Africa and that this result is robust to various speci cations and passes a series of sensitivity tests. Also, our results indicate that agriculture, ethnic diversity and institutional quality are important factors to link climate and civil war.
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Suggested Citation

  • Mathieu Couttenier & Raphael Soubeyran, 2014. "Drought and Civil War In Sub‐Saharan Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(575), pages 201-244, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:124:y:2014:i:575:p:201-244
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2014.124.issue-575
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Landon-Lane & Hugh Rockoff & Richard H. Steckel, 2011. "Droughts, Floods and Financial Distress in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 73-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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