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Grievance, Commodity Prices and Rainfall: A Village-level Analysis of Rebel Recruitment in Burundi

Author

Listed:
  • Eleonora Nillesen

    () (Wageningen University)

  • Philip Verwimp

    () (Fund for Scientific Research Flanders, University of Antwerp)

Abstract

Grievance and reduced opportunity costs are two popular ideas within the civil war literature to explain participation in violent rebellion. We test both hypotheses at the village-level using data on recruitment activities during the civil war in Burundi. We use historical data on violent attacks in 1972 and 1988 as a proxy for grievance. The cross-sectional analyses report no effect of grievance on the likelihood of recruitment. By contrast, they do show tentative support for the idea that reduced opportunity costs may promote recruitment. Villages that had above mean incidents of insufficient rain were more likely to have recruitment activities than others. We find similar results when we use recall information on recruitment to construct a 13-year panel. Negative income shocks through adverse weather conditions are a strong predictor of recruitment. By contrast we find no effect of commodity price shocks. These findings are consistent with a recent conclusion from literature: commodity price shocks show no robust relationship with civil war violence while weather shocks do.

Suggested Citation

  • Eleonora Nillesen & Philip Verwimp, 2009. "Grievance, Commodity Prices and Rainfall: A Village-level Analysis of Rebel Recruitment in Burundi," HiCN Working Papers 58, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:58
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    File URL: http://www.hicn.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/wp58.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Maarten Voors & Eleonora Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan van Soest, 2010. "Does Conflict affect Preferences? Results from Field Experiments in Burundi," HiCN Working Papers 71, Households in Conflict Network.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Civil war; recruitment; indiscriminate violence; coffee; rainfall;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania

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