Does the existence of droughtinfluence the frequency of conflict events? Theory: Drought causes resource scarcity, leading humans to more and more extreme methods for sustenance. Tim Maher
Literature results: it depends Several Studies focusing on Africa have determinedthat climatic variables are not significant in influencingthe onset of conflict events.• Security lit concludes that other variables are more significant (conflict history, percent of population that is powerless, etc.,) Others looking at a global scale have determined thatconflicts are twice as likely to occur in tropics during ElNino years rather than La Nina years. El Nino leads to dry, drought-prone conditions in the tropics. • What about directly including droughts in regression?
Model and Data robust logit analysis:onset = civil war outbreak = the first year of recorded battles in wars that generated at least 25 deaths per year. This variable was generated from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program/Peace Research Institute in Oslo (UCDP/PRIO) Armed Conflict Dataset. pcw= post-Cold War dummy variable = coded 1 for years 1990 and later.wheatchnglag = change in average annual wheat price, lagged one year. This accounts for non-regionally located droughts. Data was gathered from the USDA.cumint = Intensity of conflict, taking into account conflict history. Coded 1 if conflict, since onset, has exceeded 1000 battle-related deaths, else 0.gdppc = GDP per capita, data gathered via USDA ERS Macroeconomic dataset.pwrlpop = percent of population excluded from access to national power. variable generated by Ethnic Power Relations dataset.moderate = existence of moderate drought, using historical PDSI data from UCAR.
Results: robust logit - Prob of F-Stat: 0.0000onset R^2: 0.1667Variable Coefficient P-Value ColonialPost Cold War .5263642 0.019 vacuumLagged Change in Wheat -.5683508 0.311Historical Conflict? -2.100427 0.000 Memory?GDPpc -.0000908 0.001 Sustenance satisfied?Powerless Pop .4521971 0.390Moderate Drought .4691432 0.041 Other droughts?Constant -.4729777 0.025
Policy ImplicationsCaution: modern data collection/processing is only just now beginning to understand the causes of conflicts.In some cases, droughts may be considered influential.• future droughts likely to exceed any droughts humans have experienced thus farMust analyze conflicts on case by case basis!• Some common factors, but all conflicts are unique• Regional analysis can assist with this - I focused on global