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External shocks, internal shots - the geography of civil conflicts

This paper uses detailed information on the latitude and longitude of conflict events within a set of 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 country or the regions within countries - changes in the world demand of agricultural commodities, financial crises in the partner countries or changes in foreign trade policy - and combine these with information reflecting the natural level of trade openness of the location. We find that (i) within-country, the incidence, intensity and onset of conflicts are generally negatively and significantly correlated with income shocks within locations; (ii) this relationship is significantly weaker for the most remote locations, i.e those located away from the main seaports, (iii) at country-level, we cannot detect any significant effect of these shock on conflict incidence or onset; but (iv) large and longlasting shocks seem to affect the location of conflict outbreaks. In general, our results suggest that external income shocks are important determinants of the intensity and geography of conflicts within countries. However, conflicts tend to start in remote locations which are naturally less affected by foreign shocks, which might explain why these seem to have little effect on conflict onset at the country-level.

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File URL: http://repec.graduateinstitute.ch/pdfs/Working_papers/HEIDWP13-2012.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 13-2012.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 10 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp13-2012
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  1. Garfinkel, Michelle R. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2007. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier.
  2. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," NBER Working Papers 17620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2009. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from an Historical Experiment," NBER Working Papers 15157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Garth Frazer & Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "Trade Growth under the African Growth and Opportunity Act," NBER Working Papers 13222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mathieu Couttenier & Raphael Soubeyran, 2010. "Drought and Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 10-13, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2012.
  6. Philippe Martin & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2008. "Civil Wars and International Trade," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10149, Sciences Po.
  7. Chassang, Sylvain & Miquel, Gerard Padró i, 2009. "Economic Shocks and Civil War," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 211-228, October.
  8. Anca Cotet & Kevin K. Tsui, 2010. "Oil and Conflict: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," Working Papers 201002, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2010.
  9. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
  10. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2009. "International Commodity Prices, Growth, and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2009-37, FEDEA.
  11. Harari, Mariaflavia & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2013. "Conflict, Climate and Cells: A Disaggregated Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 9277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
  13. Antonin Aviat & Nicolas Coeurdacier, 2004. "The geography of trade in goods and asset holdings," DELTA Working Papers 2004-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  14. Lei, Yu-Hsiang & Michaels, Guy, 2014. "Do giant oilfield discoveries fuel internal armed conflicts?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 139-157.
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