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