Crop and Conflict: Exploring the impact of Inequality in Agricultural Production on Conflict Risk

59 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2019

See all articles by Paola Vesco

Paola Vesco

Centro Euro Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici

Matija Kovacic

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Dipartimento di Economia

Malcolm Mistry

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)

Date Written: June 24, 2019

Abstract

Recent attempts to find a robust empirical correlation between climate variability, crop production and civil conflict risk have been quite inconclusive. In this paper, we argue that the ambiguity in empirical findings may be partly due to a general tendency to treat agricultural production in absolute terms, while neglecting the importance of the relative deprivation triggered by unequal distribution in crop yields across locations and between groups. To test this hypothesis, we rely on high-resolution global gridded data on the local yield of four main crops for the period 1981-2017, and calculate the level of inequality in crop production by means of a Gini index using the grid-cell information on yearly crop yields both at the country level and between identity based groups (regional and ethnic). In addition, for each level of spatial disaggregation, we compute the Gini coefficient using information on crop production from rural grid-cells only. Our results reveal a strong and robust association between crop inequality and the probability of conflict outbreak. This effect is particularly pronounced in the case of inequality among rural areas. Climatic variability, on the other hand, is shown not to increase significantly the destabilizing effect of crop inequality. We also find that akin ethnic competition and discrimination along ethnic lines represent good predictors of conflict outbreak, especially in the case of ethnic conflicts, and when the between-group inequality in crop production is calculated along ethnic boundaries.

Keywords: Agriculture, Inequality, Climate Change, Conflict

JEL Classification: D74, Q54, Q18, F51

Suggested Citation

Vesco, Paola and Kovacic, Matija and Mistry, Malcolm, Crop and Conflict: Exploring the impact of Inequality in Agricultural Production on Conflict Risk (June 24, 2019). University Ca' Foscari of Venice, Dept. of Economics Research Paper Series No. 17/WP/2019 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3409745 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3409745

Paola Vesco (Contact Author)

Centro Euro Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici ( email )

via Augusto Imperatore, 16
Lecce, I-73100
Italy

Matija Kovacic

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Dipartimento di Economia ( email )

Cannaregio 873
Venice, 30121
Italy

Malcolm Mistry

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) ( email )

C.so Magenta 63
Milano, 20123
Italy

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
31
Abstract Views
338
PlumX Metrics