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Drought and Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Mathieu Couttenier
  • Raphael Soubeyran

We show that civil war is strongly related to drought in sub-Saharan Africa. We consider the e ect of variations in the Palmer Drought Severity Index (Palmer 1965) - a cumulative index that combines precipitation, temperature and the local characteristics of the soil - on the risk of civil war. While the recent, contentious debate on the link between climate and civil war has mainly focused on precipitation and temperature, without obtaining converging results, the Palmer index describes social exposure to water stress in a more ecient way. We show that it is a key factor of civil war in sub-Saharan Africa and that this result is robust to various speci cations and passes a series of sensitivity tests. Also, our results indicate that agriculture, ethnic diversity and institutional quality are important factors to link climate and civil war.

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File Function: Revised version, 2012
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Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 10-13.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision: Dec 2012
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:10-13
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  1. 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.
  2. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," NBER Technical Working Papers 0344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
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