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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 17, 2015

Civil Conflicts, Economic Shocks and Night-time Lights

  • Achim Ahrens EMAIL logo


This study focuses on the effect of economic growth shocks on the risk of civil conflict outbreak in Africa. The data set covers African first-order administrative units and the time period 1992–2010. Since sub-national GDP is not available for Africa, night-time light data from satellites is used to predict economic growth. Economic growth is then instrumented with rainfall and temperature variables in order to identify the causal effect of economic growth on conflict risk. Furthermore, a spatial autoregressive panel model is estimated to examine the role of spill-over effects. Estimation results suggest strong spill-over effects, but provide no evidence for a significant effect of economic growth on civil conflict.

Corresponding author: Achim Ahrens, Centre for Energy Economics Research and Policy (CEERP) – Institute for Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2015-9-17
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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