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Civil conflicts in Africa: Climate, economic shocks, nighttime lights and spill-over effects

Author

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  • Achim Ahrens

    (Heriot-Watt University)

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between weather conditions, economic shocks and civil conflicts in Africa. While most studies rely on country-level data sets, this study exploits a panel data set of African first-order administrative units covering 1992-2010. Since sub-national gross domestic product for Africa is either unavailable or of poor quality, nighttime light data from satellites is exploited to predict economic growth at the sub-national level. In addition to IV/GMM estimation, the Lasso estimator is employed in order to generate optimal instruments for economic growth from rainfall and temperature variables. It is demonstrated that the Lasso estimator successfully addresses the challenges arising from non-linearities, heterogeneity across climate regions and weak identification. Furthermore, spatial econometric methods account for conflict spill-overs via political, geographical and ethnic ties. Estimation results provide no evidence that economic growth shocks have a significant causal impact on violence, but prices of capital-intensive commodities seem to be associated with civil conflicts.

Suggested Citation

  • Achim Ahrens, 2015. "Civil conflicts in Africa: Climate, economic shocks, nighttime lights and spill-over effects," SEEC Discussion Papers 1501, Spatial Economics and Econometrics Centre, Heriot Watt University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hwe:seecdp:1501
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Civil conflict; Africa; economic growth; nighttime lights; spatial econometrics; Lasso; many instruments;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

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