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Drought and Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa

Drought and Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa

April 18, 2011 -
4:15pm to 6:00pm
Event Speaker: 
Mathieu Couttenier
Event Sponsor: 
The Munro Lectureship Fund and The Lane Center
Abstract: 

In this paper, we show that drought has a positive effect on the incidence of civil war over the 1945-2005 period in Sub-Saharan Africa.  We use the Palmer Drought Severity Index which is a richer measurement of the drought than the measures used in the literature (rainfall and temperature) as it measures the accumulation of water in the soil in taking into account the temperature and the geological characteristics of the soil.  We show that the risk of civil war increases by more than 42% from a "normal" climate to an "extremely drought" climate.  Surprisingly, only 2.5% of this effect is channeled through economic growth.