DP6568 | Growth, Democracy, and Civil War

Publication Date

16/11/2007

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Abstract

Are civil wars partly caused by low economic growth? And do democratic institutions attenuate the impact of low growth on the likelihood of civil war? Our approach to answering these questions exploits that international commodity prices have a significant effect on income growth in Sub-Saharan African countries. We show that lower income growth makes civil war more likely in non-democracies. This effect is significantly weaker in democracies. So much so, that we do not find a link between growth and civil war in countries with democratic institutions. Our results therefore point to an interaction between economic and institutional causes of civil war.