Understanding Transitory Rainfall Shocks, Economic Growth and Civil Conflict

15 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2010 Last revised: 25 Dec 2021

See all articles by Edward Miguel

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Shanker Satyanath

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: October 2010

Abstract

Miguel, Satyanath and Sergenti (2004) use rainfall variation as an instrument to show that economic growth is negatively related to civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. In the reduced form regression they find that higher rainfall is associated with less conflict. Ciccone (2010) claims that this conclusion is 'erroneous' and argues that higher rainfall levels are actually linked to more conflict. In this paper we show that the results in Ciccone's paper are based on incorrect STATA code, outdated conflict data, a weak first stage regression and a questionable application of the GMM estimator. Leaving aside these data and econometric issues, Ciccone's surprising results do not survive obvious robustness checks. We therefore conclude that Ciccone's main claims are largely incorrect and reconfirm the original result by Miguel, Satyanath and Sergenti (2004), finding that adverse economic growth shocks, driven by falling rainfall, increases the likelihood of civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa.

Suggested Citation

Miguel, Edward and Satyanath, Shanker, Understanding Transitory Rainfall Shocks, Economic Growth and Civil Conflict (October 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16461, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1692524

Edward Miguel (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Shanker Satyanath

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

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