Economic shocks and civil conflict: A comment

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Abstract

Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath, and Ernest Sergenti (2004), henceforth MSS, argue that lower rainfall levels and negative rainfall shocks increase conflict risk in sub-Saharan Africa. This conclusion rests on their finding of a negative correlation between conflict in t and rainfall growth between t − 1 and t − 2. I show that this finding is driven by a (counterintuitive) positive correlation between conflict in t and rainfall levels in t − 2. If lower rainfall levels or negative rainfall shocks increased conflict, MSS’s finding should have been due to a negative correlation between conflict in t and rainfall levels in t − 1. In the latest data, conflict is unrelated to rainfall. (JEL D74, E32, O11, O17, O47)

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Authors

  • Antonio Ciccone

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