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Water scarcity and rioting: disaggregated evidence from sub-saharan africa

Published inJournal of Environmental Economics and Management, vol. 86, p. 193-209
Publication date2017
Abstract

Water Scarcity and Rioting: DisaggregatedEvidence from Sub-Saharan Africa∗May 9, 2017AbstractIt is often purported that unusually dry weather conditions provoke small-scalesocial conflict - riots - by intensifying the competition for water. The present paperexplores this hypothesis, using data from Sub-Saharan Africa. We rely on monthlydata at the cell level (0.5×0.5 degrees), an approach that is tailored to the short-lived and local nature of the phenomenon. Using a drought index to proxy forweather shocks, we find that a one-standard-deviation fall in the index (signalingdrier conditions) raises the likelihood of riots in a given cell and month by 8.3%. Wefurther observe that the effect of unusually dry weather conditions is substantiallylarger in cells with a lower availability of water resources (such as rivers and lakes),a finding that supports the significance of the competition-for-water mechanism

Keywords
  • Small-scale conflict
  • Riots
  • Water shocks
  • Disaggregated data
Citation (ISO format)
ALMER, Christian, LUCCHETTI, Jérémy, OECHSLIN, Manuel. Water scarcity and rioting: disaggregated evidence from sub-saharan africa. In: Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2017, vol. 86, p. 193–209. doi: 10.1016/j.jeem.2017.06.002
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