Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 497304
Title Climate shocks and conflict : Evidence from colonial Nigeria
Author(s) Papaioannou, Kostadis J.
Source Political Geography 50 (2016). - ISSN 0962-6298 - p. 33 - 47.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.07.001
Department(s) Rural and Environmental History
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Africa - Climate shocks - Colonialism - Conflict
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.

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