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Communal violence in the Horn of Africa following the 1998 El Niño

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  • Stijn van Weezel

Abstract

This study exploits a shift in Spring precipitation patterns in the Horn of Africa following the 1998 El Niño to examine the effect of climate change on conflict. Using data for Ethiopia and Kenya and focusing on communal conflict the regression analysis links districts that have experienced drier conditions since 1999 relative to 1981-1998 with higher conflict levels. However, the magnitude of the estimated effect is low and the direction of the effect is as likely to be positive as negative. Moreover the results are sensitive to model specification, not robust to using another outcome variable, and do not generalise well to out-of-sample data. The cross-validation illustrates that the model linking droughts with conflict has a relatively poor predictive performance. The results also show that districts with substantial shares of pastoralism experience higher levels of communal violence, something that is well documented in the qualitative literature, but don’t face higher risks following decreases in precipitation levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Stijn van Weezel, 2016. "Communal violence in the Horn of Africa following the 1998 El Niño," Working Papers 201617, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201617
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/8243
    File Function: First version, 2016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Horn of Africa; Climate change; Rainfall; Communal conflict;

    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
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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