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Drought and Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Mathieu Couttenier

    (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CES and Sciences-Po)

  • Raphael Soubeyran

    (INRA-LAMETA and IDEP Montpellier)

In this paper, we show that drought has a positive effect on the incidence of civil war over the 1945-2005 period in Sub-Saharan Africa. We use the Palmer Drought Severity Index which is a richer measurement of drought than the measures used in the literature (rainfall and temperature) as it measures the accumulation of water in the soil in taking into account the temperature and the geological characteristics of the soil. We show that the risk of civil war increases by more than 42% from a “normal” climate to an “extremely drought” climate. Surprisingly, only 2.5% of this effect is channeled through economic growth.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2010.150.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.150
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  1. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
  3. 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.
  4. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath, 2011. "Re-examining Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 228-32, October.
  5. John Landon-Lane & Hugh Rockoff & Richard H. Steckel, 2009. "Droughts, Floods and Financial Distress in the United States," NBER Working Papers 15596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  7. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, 2009. "Rain, Growth, And Civil War: The Importance Of Location," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(5), pages 359-372, October.
  8. Marshall Burke & John Dykema & David Lobell & Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath, 2010. "Climate and Civil War: Is the Relationship Robust?," NBER Working Papers 16440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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