IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income and Civil Conflict in Colombia

  • Angrist, Joshua
  • Kugler, Adriana D.

Natural and agricultural resources for which there is a substantial black market, such as coca, opium, and diamonds, appear especially likely to be exploited by the parties to a civil conflict. On the other hand, these resources may also provide one of the few reliable sources of income in the countryside. In this paper, we study the economic and social consequences of a major shift in the production of coca paste from Peru and Bolivia to Colombia, where most coca leaf is now harvested. This shift, which arose in response to the disruption of the 'air bridge' that previously ferried coca paste into Colombia, provided an exogenous boost in the demand for Colombian coca leaf. Our analysis shows this shift generated economic gains in rural areas, primarily in the form of increased self-employment earnings and increased labour supply by teenage boys. There is little evidence of widespread economic spillovers, however. The results also suggest that the rural areas which saw accelerated coca production subsequently became much more violent. Taken together, these findings support the view that the Colombian civil conflict is fuelled by the financial opportunities that coca provides. This is in line with a recent literature that attributes the extension of civil conflicts to economic rewards and an environment that favours insurgency more than to the persistence of economic or political grievances.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5324.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5324
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Herschel Grossman & Daniel Mejía, 2008. "The war against drug producers," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 5-23, January.
  2. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Papers 517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  3. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  4. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2002. "Institutions and the resource curse," GE, Growth, Math methods 0210004, EconWPA.
  5. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger Jr, John C & Kugler, Adriana D. & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The Effects of Structural Reforms on Productivity- and Profitability-Enhancing Reallocation: Evidence from Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 4569, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kugler, Adriana D., 2005. "Wage-shifting effects of severance payments savings accounts in Colombia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 487-500, February.
  7. James D. Fearon, 2004. "Why Do Some Civil Wars Last So Much Longer than Others?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 275-301, May.
  8. Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2002. "Education, Poverty, Political Violence and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," Working Papers 203, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  9. Abadie, Alberto, 2004. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," Working Paper Series rwp04-043, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  10. Angrist, Joshua & Kugler, Adriana, 2007. "Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income, and Civil Conflict in Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 2790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  12. Guidolin, Massimo & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2004. "Diamonds are Forever, Wars are Not: Is Conflict Bad for Private Firms?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Arvind Subramanian, 2003. "Addressing the Natural Resource Curse: An Illustration from Nigeria," NBER Working Papers 9804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  15. Gaviria, Alejandro, 2000. "Increasing returns and the evolution of violent crime: the case of Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-25, February.
  16. Dan Black & Kermit Daniel & Seth Sanders, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Conditions on Participation in Disability Programs: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 27-50, March.
  17. Adriana Kugler & Maurice Kugler, 2003. "The labor market effects of payroll taxes in a middle-income country: Evidence from Colombia," Economics Working Papers 721, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  18. Ricardo Hausmann & Roberto Rigobon, 2003. "An Alternative Interpretation of the 'Resource Curse': Theory and Policy Implications," NBER Working Papers 9424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Ana MaríaDíaz & FabioSánchez, 2004. "A Geography Of Illicit Crops (Coca Leaf) And Armed Conflict In Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 001918, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  20. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  21. Carrington, William J, 1996. "The Alaskan Labor Market during the Pipeline Era," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 186-218, February.
  22. Eric Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2004. "International Trade and Child Labor: Cross-Country Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Mauricio CARDENAS SANTAMARIA, 2002. "Economic growth in Colombia: A reversal of Fortune," ARCHIVOS DE ECONOMÍA 002402, DEPARTAMENTO NACIONAL DE PLANEACIÓN.
  24. Steiner, Roberto, 1998. "Colombia's income from the drug trade," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1013-1031, June.
  25. Jairo Núñez & Fabio Sánchez Torres, 2000. "Geography and Economic Development in Colombia: A Municipal Approach," Research Department Publications 3107, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  26. Dan Black & Terra McKinnish & Seth Sanders, 2005. "The Economic Impact Of The Coal Boom And Bust," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 449-476, 04.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income, and Civil Conflict in Colombia (REStat 2008) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5324. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.