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Climate (change) and conflict: resolving a puzzle of association and causation

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  • Christian Almer
  • Stefan Boes

Abstract

There is an ongoing discussion especially among political scientists and economists whether and how climate variability affects civil conflicts and wars in developing countries. Given the predicted climatic changes, several studies argue that increasing temperatures or decreasing precipitation will lead to more conflicts in the future. This paper aims at linking the different strands of the literature by analyzing the causal mechanisms at work. We use short-term weather variability as well as long-term changes in Sub-Saharan Africa and find that climate (change) significantly affects agricultural output, to some extent also GDP, and has no robust direct effects on civil wars. Negative shocks in GDP, however, have the expected fostering effects on civil conflicts.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Almer & Stefan Boes, 2012. "Climate (change) and conflict: resolving a puzzle of association and causation," Diskussionsschriften dp1203, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  • Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp1203
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Papaioannou, Kostadis J. & de Haas, Michiel, 2017. "Weather Shocks and Agricultural Commercialization in Colonial Tropical Africa: Did Cash Crops Alleviate Social Distress?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 346-365.
    2. Kostadis J. Papaioannou & Michiel de Haas, 2015. "Climate shocks, cash crops and resilience: Evidence from colonial tropical Africa," Working Papers 0076, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    3. Solomon Hsiang & Marshall Burke, 2014. "Climate, conflict, and social stability: what does the evidence say?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 39-55, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Civil conflict; climate change; economic shocks; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania

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