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International commodity prices and civil war outbreak: new evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond

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Abstract

A new dataset by Bazzi and Blattman (2014) allows examining the effects of international commodity prices on the risk of civil war outbreak with more comprehensive data. I find that international commodity price downturns sparked civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa. Another finding with the new dataset is that commodity price downturns also sparked civil wars beyond Sub-Saharan Africa since 1980. Effects are sizable relative to the baseline risk of civil war outbreak. My conclusions contrast with those of Bazzi and Blattman, who argue that the new dataset rejects that commodity price downturns cause civil wars. The reason is that I calculate commodity price shocks using time-invariant (fixed) export shares as commodity weights. Bazzi and Blattman also calculate commodity price shocks using export shares as commodity weights but but the exports shares they use are time-varying. Using time-invariant export shares as commodity weights ensures that time variation in price shocks solely re ects changes in international commodity prices. Price shocks based on time-varying export shares partly re ect (possibly endogenous) changes in the quantity and variety of countries' exports, which jeopardizes causal estimation.

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  • Antonio Ciccone, 2018. "International commodity prices and civil war outbreak: new evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond," Economics Working Papers 1596, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1596
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    Cited by:

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    2. Hannes Mueller & Christopher Rauh, 2019. "The hard problem of prediction for conflict prevention," Cahiers de recherche 2019-02, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    3. Marco Alfano & Joseph-Simon Gorlach, 2019. "Terrorism, education and the role of expectations: evidence from al-Shabaab attacks in Kenya," Working Papers 1904, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    4. Stoop, Nik & Verpoorten, Marijke & van der Windt, Peter, 2019. "Artisanal or industrial conflict minerals? Evidence from Eastern Congo," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 660-674.
    5. Eberhardt, Markus, 2018. "(At Least) Four Theories for Sovereign Default," CEPR Discussion Papers 13084, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Mr. Markus Eberhardt & Mr. Andrea F Presbitero, 2018. "Commodity Price Movements and Banking Crises," IMF Working Papers 2018/153, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Eberhardt, Markus & Presbitero, Andrea F., 2021. "Commodity prices and banking crises," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    civil wars; commodity price downturns;

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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