Climate Change and Civil Unrest: Evidence from the El Niño Southern Oscillation
29 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2015 Last revised: 5 Mar 2018
Date Written: September 28, 2015
A growing body of research connects short-run deviations in weather with violence. Less well understood are the impacts of medium and long-run climate fluctuations. We follow the approach of Hsiang, Meng, and Cane (2011, Science) in using the existing climactic forces of El Niño and La Niña to analyze the consequences of climate change. We show that El Niño events elevate, while La Niña periods reduce subsequent civil unrest, and that these changes occur only among countries whose weather is susceptible to these climate cycles. This connection is pronounced in Latin America, and where strong democracies are present, they appear less vulnerable to climate induced unrest. Our findings suggest a critical need to further develop political and social infrastructure to cope with these evolving challenges.
Keywords: O13, Q54, H1
JEL Classification: Climate Change, Civil Unrest, El Niño, Latin America
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation