Advanced

Climate shocks and conflict : Evidence from colonial Nigeria

Papaioannou, Kostadis LU (2016) In Political Geography 50. p.33-47
Abstract
This paper offers a historical micro-level analysis of the impact of climate shocks on the incidence of civil conflict in colonial Nigeria (1912–1945). Primary historical sources on court cases, prisoners and homicides are used to capture conflict. To measure climate shocks we use the deviation from long-term rainfall patterns, capturing both drought and excessive rainfall. We find a robust and significant curvilinear (U-shaped) relationship between rainfall deviations and conflict intensity, which tends to be stronger in agro-ecological zones that are least resilient to climatic variability (such as Guinean Savannah) and where (pre-) colonial political structures were less centralized. We find evidence that the relationship is weaker in... (More)
This paper offers a historical micro-level analysis of the impact of climate shocks on the incidence of civil conflict in colonial Nigeria (1912–1945). Primary historical sources on court cases, prisoners and homicides are used to capture conflict. To measure climate shocks we use the deviation from long-term rainfall patterns, capturing both drought and excessive rainfall. We find a robust and significant curvilinear (U-shaped) relationship between rainfall deviations and conflict intensity, which tends to be stronger in agro-ecological zones that are least resilient to climatic variability (such as Guinean Savannah) and where (pre-) colonial political structures were less centralized. We find evidence that the relationship is weaker in areas that specialize in the production of export crops (such as cocoa and palm oil) compared to subsistence farming areas, suggesting that agricultural diversification acts as an insurance mechanism against the whims of nature. Additional historical information on food shortages, crop-price spikes and outbreaks of violence is used to explore the climate–conflict connection in greater detail. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
climate shocks, conflict, Africa, colonialism
in
Political Geography
volume
50
pages
15 pages
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • scopus:84943600830
ISSN
1873-5096
DOI
10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.07.001
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
462f5fc3-44cd-4312-a78e-00058c0d9e8e
date added to LUP
2017-09-22 15:24:42
date last changed
2017-09-25 13:41:49
@article{462f5fc3-44cd-4312-a78e-00058c0d9e8e,
  abstract     = {This paper offers a historical micro-level analysis of the impact of climate shocks on the incidence of civil conflict in colonial Nigeria (1912–1945). Primary historical sources on court cases, prisoners and homicides are used to capture conflict. To measure climate shocks we use the deviation from long-term rainfall patterns, capturing both drought and excessive rainfall. We find a robust and significant curvilinear (U-shaped) relationship between rainfall deviations and conflict intensity, which tends to be stronger in agro-ecological zones that are least resilient to climatic variability (such as Guinean Savannah) and where (pre-) colonial political structures were less centralized. We find evidence that the relationship is weaker in areas that specialize in the production of export crops (such as cocoa and palm oil) compared to subsistence farming areas, suggesting that agricultural diversification acts as an insurance mechanism against the whims of nature. Additional historical information on food shortages, crop-price spikes and outbreaks of violence is used to explore the climate–conflict connection in greater detail.},
  author       = {Papaioannou, Kostadis},
  issn         = {1873-5096},
  keyword      = {climate shocks,conflict,Africa,colonialism},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {33--47},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Political Geography},
  title        = {Climate shocks and conflict : Evidence from colonial Nigeria},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.07.001},
  volume       = {50},
  year         = {2016},
}