Fertile Ground for Conflict
We investigate how variations in soil fertility affect civil conflicts. We first present a model with heterogeneous land in which variations in input prices (fertilizers) affect appropriable rents and the opportunity costs of fighting. The theory predicts that spikes in input prices increase the likelihood of conflicts through their effect on income and inequality, and that this effect is magnified when soil fertility is naturally more heterogenous. We test these predictions using data on conflict events covering all Sub-Saharan African countries at a spatial resolution of 0.5 x 0.5 degree latitude and longitude over the 1997-2013 period. We combine information on soil characteristics and worldwide variations in fertilizer prices to identify local exogenous changes in input costs. As predicted, variations in soil productivity triggered by variations in fertilizer prices are positively associated with conflicts, especially in cells where land endowments are more heterogeneous. In addition, we find that the distribution of land fertility both within and across ethnic groups affects violence, and that the effect of between-group heterogeneity in soil quality is magnified in densely populated areas. Overall, our findings imply that inequality in access to fertile areas -- an issue largely neglected in the literature dealing with the roots of Sub-Saharan African civil wars -- constitutes a serious threat to peace at the local-level.
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- Paswel P. Marenya & Christopher B. Barrett, 2009. "State-conditional Fertilizer Yield Response on Western Kenyan Farms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(4), pages 991-1006.
- Paulo Guimarães & Pedro Portugal, 2010. "A simple feasible procedure to fit models with high-dimensional fixed effects," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 10(4), pages 628-649, December.
- Manuel A. Hernandez & Maximo Torero, 2013. "Market concentration and pricing behavior in the fertilizer industry: a global approach," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(6), pages 723-734, November.
- Samuel Bazzi & Christopher Blattman, 2014. "Economic Shocks and Conflict: Evidence from Commodity Prices," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 1-38, October.
- Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2011.
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- Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2005. "A Model of Ethnic Conflict," Working Papers 253, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2007. "A Model of Ethnic Conflict," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 701.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2007. "A Model of Ethnic Conflict," Working Papers 313, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Michael L. Ross, 2004. "What Do We Know about Natural Resources and Civil War?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 337-356, May.
- repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:133-152 is not listed on IDEAS
- Nils B. Weidmann & Jan Ketil Roslashd & Lars-Erik Cederman, 2010. "Representing ethnic groups in space: A new dataset," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(4), pages 491-499, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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