Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recessions and Civil Wars

Antonio Ciccone, one of the steering committee members of the ITFD program, has recently been doing work on the determinants of civil war. We know that recessions often coincide with the outbreak of civil conflict. What is not clear is the direction of causation - it could be that countries on the brink of a breakdown of civic order also end up with a drop in output. Antonio uses variations in the price of international commodities, such as coffee, to pin down causality. In work with Markus Br├╝ckner that uses data on Subsaharan Africa, they conclude that the link between recession and civil war is indeed causal. The effect is strong in autocratic regimes. Democracies, on the other hand, do not experience the same increase in civil conflict when recessions bite. You can see Antonio talk about his research here.

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