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William Easterly

By Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath



Estimating the impact of economic shocks on the likelihood of civil conflict is difficult because of omitted variable bias and endogeneity. We use exogenous weather variation – as measured in satellite vegetation readings – as an instrumental variable for economic growth in 40 Sub-Saharan African countries during 1983-1999, and find that economic growth is strongly negatively related to the incidence of civil conflict: a negative growth shock of 5 percentage points increases the likelihood of major civil conflicts by over one-half. This relationship is more robust than most other patterns highlighted in the existing literature. We use a new and more comprehensive dataset of civil conflict in the analysis.

Work in Progress

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Globalization Research Center - Africa