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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. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2010. "International Commodity Prices, Growth and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 519-534, 05.
  2. Mathieu Couttenier & Raphael Soubeyran, 2010. "Drought and Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 10-13, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2012.
  3. 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.
  4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lei, Yu-Hsiang & Michaels, Guy, 2011. "Do Giant Oilfield Discoveries Fuel Internal Armed Conflicts?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Antonin Aviat & Nicolas Coeurdacier, 2004. "The geography of trade in goods and asset holdings," DELTA Working Papers 2004-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  7. Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Thoenig, Mathias, 2008. "Civil Wars and International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6659, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  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. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas, 2006. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Working Papers 050623, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2006.
  11. Anca M. Cotet & Kevin K. Tsui, 2013. "Oil and Conflict: What Does the Cross Country Evidence Really Show?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 49-80, January.
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