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External shocks, internal shots: the geography of civil conflicts

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  • Berman, Nicolas
  • Couttenier, Mathieu

Abstract

This paper uses detailed information on the latitude and longitude of conflict events in Sub-Saharan African countries to study the impact of external income shocks on the likelihood of violence. We consider a number of external demand shocks faced by the countries or the regions within countries - temporary shocks such as changes in the world demand for agricultural commodities, and longer-lasting events such as financial crises in the partner countries - and combine these with information reflecting the natural level of trade openness of the location. We find that (i) the incidence, intensity and onset of conflicts are generally negatively and significantly correlated with income variations at the local level; (ii) this relationship is significantly weaker for the most remote locations, i.e those located away from the main seaports, (iii) at the country-level, these shocks have an insignificant impact on the overall probability of conflict outbreak, but do affect the probability that conflicts start in the most opened regions. Altogether, our results therefore suggest that external income shocks are important determinants of the intensity and geography of conflicts, and provide support in favor of the opportunity cost theories of war.

Suggested Citation

  • Berman, Nicolas & Couttenier, Mathieu, 2014. "External shocks, internal shots: the geography of civil conflicts," CEPR Discussion Papers 9895, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9895
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1564-1610 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Eoin McGuirk & Marshall Burke, 2017. "The Economic Origins of Conflict in Africa," NBER Working Papers 23056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:bla:reviec:v:25:y:2017:i:1:p:195-232 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Fetzer, Thiemo & Marden, Samuel, 2016. "Take what you can: property rights, contestability andconflict," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66534, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Cervellati, Matteo & Esposito, Elena & Sunde, Uwe & Valmori, Simona, 2016. "Malaria Risk and Civil Violence," CEPR Discussion Papers 11496, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Jørgen Juel Andersen & Frode Martin Nordvik & Andrea Tesei, 2017. "Oil and Civil Conflict: On and Off (Shore)," Working Papers No 1/2017, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
    7. Rémi BAZILLIER & Victoire GIRARD, 2017. "The gold digger and the machine. Evidence on the distributive effect of the artisanal and industrial gold rushes in Burkina Faso," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 2545, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
    8. World Bank Group, 2016. "An Integrated Framework for Jobs in Fragile and Conflict Situations," World Bank Other Operational Studies 25296, The World Bank.
    9. Cornelius Christian & James Fenske, 2015. "Economic shocks and unrest in French West Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-01, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    10. Bluhm, Richard & Gassebner, Martin & Langlotz, Sarah & Schaudt, Paul, 2016. "Fueling conflict? : (De)escalation and bilateral aid," MERIT Working Papers 053, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    11. Carla Calero & Sandra V. Rozo, 2016. "The effects of youth training on risk behavior: the role of non-cognitive skills," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, December.
    12. Michael Dorsch & Karl Dunz & Paul Maarek, 2015. "Macro shocks and costly political action in non-democracies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(3), pages 381-404, March.
    13. Nicolas Berman & Philippe Martin, 2012. "The Vulnerability of Sub-Saharan Africa to Financial Crises: The Case of Trade," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 60(3), pages 329-364, September.
    14. Nicolas Berman & Mathieu Couttenier & Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig, 2017. "This Mine Is Mine! How Minerals Fuel Conflicts in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(6), pages 1564-1610, June.
    15. Francesco Amodio & Leonardo Baccini & Michele di Maio, "undated". "Security, Trade, and Political Violence," HiCN Working Papers 250, Households in Conflict Network.
    16. Hannes Mueller & Dominic Rohner & David Schoenholzer, 2013. "Tectonic Boundaries and Strongholds: The Religious Geography of Violence in Northern Ireland," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 13.04, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    17. Hannes Mueller, 2016. "Growth and Violence: Argument for a Per Capita Measure of Civil War," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(331), pages 473-497, July.
    18. Massimiliano Calì & Alen Mulabdic, 2017. "Trade and civil conflict: Revisiting the cross-country evidence," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 195-232, February.
    19. Abidoye,Babatunde Oluwakayode & Cali,Massimiliano, 2015. "Income shocks and conflict : evidence from Nigeria," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7213, The World Bank.
    20. Eoin McGuirk & Nathaniel Hilger & Nicholas Miller, 2017. "No Kin In The Game: Moral Hazard and War in the U.S. Congress," NBER Working Papers 23904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Thiemo Fetzer & Samuel Marden, 2016. "Take what you can: property rights, contestability and conflict," Working Paper Series 9216, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    civil war; conflict; income shocks;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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