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Disease Environment and Civil Conflicts

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  • Matteo Cervellati

    ()

  • Sunde, Uwe

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  • Simona Valmori

    ()

Abstract

This paper tests the hypothesis that a high and persistent exposure to infectious diseases increases the likelihood of civil conflicts. Diseases that are difficult to prevent and treat may reduce the opportunity costs of violent activities, both directly and indirectly. The analysis exploits new data on the number of multi-host vector-transmitted infectious diseases that are endemic in each country. As consequence of their specific features, the presence of these pathogens in a country is closely related to geo-climatological conditions and exogenous to civil conflict. The findings document that a larger disease richness is a statistically robust and quantitatively relevant determinant of civil conflicts for the period 1960-2004. Exploiting within country variation, the findings also document that interactions between climatological shocks in terms of droughts and the disease environment have a significant effect on the risk of civil wars. The results are robust to different specifications, data sets and estimation methods, and suggest that the persistent exposure to a more unfavorable environment in terms of disease richness is an important determinant of the incidence of civil conflict. The results also suggest the potential relevance of a channel linking geography to economic development that has not been investigated in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Matteo Cervellati & Sunde, Uwe & Simona Valmori, 2011. "Disease Environment and Civil Conflicts," Economics Working Paper Series 1113, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2011:13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cemal Eren Arbatli & Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The Nature of Civil Conflict," Working Papers 2013-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Marshall Burke & Solomon M. Hsiang & Edward Miguel, 2015. "Climate and Conflict," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 577-617, August.
    3. Madsen, Jakob B., 2016. "Barriers to Prosperity: Parasitic and Infectious Diseases, IQ, and Economic Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 172-187.
    4. García-Peñalosa, Cecilia & Konte, Maty, 2014. "Why Are Women Less Democratic Than Men? Evidence from Sub-Saharan African Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 104-119.
    5. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2016. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(7), pages 1802-1848, July.
    6. Chen, Junyi & McCarl, Bruce A. & Price, Edwin & Wu, Ximing & Bessler, David A., 2016. "Climate as a Cause of Conflict: An Econometric Analysis," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 229783, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    7. 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

    Disease Environment; Civil Conict; Multi-Host Vector-Transmitted Pathogens; Civil War;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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