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Aiding Conflict: The Impact of U.S. Food Aid on Civil War

  • Nathan Nunn
  • Nancy Qian

This paper examines the effect of U.S. food aid on conflict in recipient countries. To establish a causal relationship, we exploit time variation in food aid caused by fluctuations in U.S. wheat production together with cross-sectional variation in a country's tendency to receive any food aid from the United States. Our estimates show that an increase in U.S. food aid increases the incidence, onset and duration of civil conflicts in recipient countries. Our results suggest that the effects are larger for smaller scale civil conflicts. No effect is found on interstate warfare.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17794.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Publication status: published as “U.S. Food Aid and Civil Conflict,” (with Nancy Qian), American Economic Review, forthcoming.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17794
Note: DAE EFG ITI PE POL
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Abdulai, Awudu & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hoddinott, John, 2005. "Does food aid Really have disincentive effects? New evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1689-1704, October.
  7. Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2003. "Food Aid and Child Nutrition in Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1309-1324, July.
  8. J. de Ree & E. Nillesen, 2006. "Aiding Violence or Peace? The Impact of Foreign Aid on the Risk of Civil Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 06-09, Utrecht School of Economics.
  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. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2010. "The Determinants of Food Aid Provisions to Africa and the Developing World," NBER Working Papers 16610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2009. "International Commodity Prices, Growth, and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2009-37, FEDEA.
  12. Benjamin Crost & Joseph Felter & Patrick Johnston, 2014. "Aid under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1833-56, June.
  13. Stern, Nicholas H., 1974. "Professor Bauer on development : A review article," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 191-211, December.
  14. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
  15. Oeindrila Dube & Suresh Naidu, 2010. "Bases, Bullets, and Ballots: The Effect of U.S. Military Aid on Political Conflict in Colombia," Working Papers 197, Center for Global Development.
  16. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
  17. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  18. Barrett E. Kirwan & Margaret McMillan, 2007. "Food Aid and Poverty," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1152-1160.
  19. Takashi Yamano & Harold Alderman & Luc Christiaensen, 2005. "Child Growth, Shocks, and Food Aid in Rural Ethiopia," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(2), pages 273-288.
  20. James D. Fearon, 2004. "Why Do Some Civil Wars Last So Much Longer than Others?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 275-301, May.
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