November 15, 2010

Understanding Transitory Rainfall Shocks, Economic Growth and Civil Conflict

by Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath

- 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 In this paper we show that the results in Ciccone’s paper are based on incorrect STATA code, outdated conflict data, a weak first stage regression and a questionable application of the GMM estimator.

Miguel, E. and S. Satyanath (2010). "Understanding Transitory Rainfall Shocks, Economic Growth and Civil Conflict." NBER Working Paper No. 16461, Oct 2010.