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Food Prices and Political Instability

  • Rabah Arezki
  • Markus Brückner

We examine the effects that variations in the international food prices have on democracy and intra-state conflict using panel data for over 120 countries during the period 1970-2007. Our main finding is that in Low Income Countries increases in the international food prices lead to a significant deterioration of democratic institutions and a significant increase in the incidence of anti-government demonstrations, riots, and civil conflict. In the High Income Countries variations in the international food prices have no significant effects on democratic institutions and measures of intra-state conflict. Our empirical results point to a significant externality of variations in international food prices on Low Income Countries' social and political stability.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3544.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3544
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," Working papers 99-26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2009. "Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity," Working Papers 2009-38, FEDEA.
  3. Paul J. Burke & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "Do Output Contractions Trigger Democratic Change?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 124-57, October.
  4. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2010. "International Commodity Prices, Growth and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 519-534, 05.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521671422 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Antonio Ciccone, 2013. "Estimating the Effect of Transitory Economic Shocks on Civil Conflict," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 4(2).
  8. Berger, Helge & Spoerer, Mark, 2001. "Economic Crises And The European Revolutions Of 1848," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(02), pages 293-326, June.
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