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Climate Change and Cross-State Islamist Terrorism in Nigeria

  • Gregory N. Price EMAIL logo and Juliet U. Elu


This paper considers if increases in temperature and decreases in rain associated with climate change are a potential driver of Islamist terrorism across states in Nigeria. With state-level Islamist terrorism event, temperature, rainfall and sociodemographic data for Nigeria, we estimate latent variable and count data specifications of the relationship between the number of Islamist terrorism events and climactic variation in temperature and rainfall motivated by how the psychological costs of conflict can be decreased by increases in outdoor ambient temperature and decreases in rainfall. Our parameter estimates reveal that increases in temperature and decreases in rainfall increase the likelihood of Islamist terrorism in Nigeria. This suggests that global warming and reduced rainfall induced by climate change are potential drivers of terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa, and policy interventions designed to abate anthropogenic climate change can reduce violent conflict that is harmful for economic growth and development.

JEL Classification: C23; D74; O55; R11; Q5; Q54; Z12


The authors acknowledge and express gratitude for, financial support from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, University of Maryland, and the Division of Business Administration and Economics, Morehouse College.


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Published Online: 2017-8-11

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