Adverse rainfall shocks and civil war: Myth or reality?

Abstract

News reports and policy makers frequently link African civil conflicts and wars to agricultural crises caused by droughts. However, empirical studies of the relationship between rainfall and civil conflict or war remain inconclusive. I reexamine this relationship focusing on rainfall over each country’s agricultural land during the growing seasons. I also incorporate that the relationship between rainfall and agricultural output is hump-shaped, as rainfall beyond a threshold decreases output. I find a U-shaped relationship between rainfall and the risk of civil conflict and war in (Sub- Saharan) African countries. This relationship mirrors the hump-shaped relationship between rainfall and agricultural output.

Download File