Population Size and Civil Conflict Risk: Is There A Causal Link?
Does an expansion of the population size expose nation states to a higher risk of suffering from civil conflict? Obtaining empirical evidence for a causal relationship is difficult due to reverse effects and omitted variable bias. This paper addresses causality issues by using randomly occurring drought as an instrumental variable to generate exogenous variation in population size for a panel of 37 Sub-Saharan countries over the period 1981- 2004. Instrumental variable estimates yield that a one percentage point increase in population size raises the risk of civil conflict by over 5.2 percentage points.
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