Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Food aid and civil war: is there a link?

It looks like the answer is yes. There is a new NBER working paper out on Aiding Conflict: The Impact of U.S. Food Aid on Civil War by Nathan Nunn and Nancy Qian.

The abstract reads:
This paper examines the effect of U.S. food aid on conflict in recipient countries. To establish a causal relationship, we exploit time variation in food aid caused by fluctuations in U.S. wheat production together with cross-sectional variation in a country's tendency to receive any food aid from the United States. Our estimates show that an increase in U.S. food aid increases the incidence, onset and duration of civil conflicts in recipient countries. Our results suggest that the effects are larger for smaller scale civil conflicts. No effect is found on interstate warfare.
If you are starving, you can't fight?


Bill said...

'You stop fighting or I'll give you something to fight about!'

Sorry, couldn't resist...

More seriously, man, that is depressing. There's been a lot of work on the negative impacts of aid, but contributing to civil war is not something I would have expected.

JC said...

"If you are starving, you can't fight?"

Or suddenly, you have something to fight for!


homepaddock said...

"If you are starving, you can't fight?"

I second JC.

Or: if you're starving you put your energy into alleviating the starvation.