Natural Disasters, Economic Growth and Armed Civil Conflict
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Catastrophes such as floods, droughts and earthquakes have caused significant human and infrastructural losses throughout history. Nevertheless, researchers struggle to quantify macroeconomic impacts, and the existing literature is ambiguous in its findings. In this study I use econometric methods on panel data from Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), and find that hydrometeorological, climatological and geophysical events all affect economic growth negatively in the short run. Second, while events typically linked to climate change tend to cause negative growth shocks the same year they occur, geophysical disasters do not alter overall economic performance before the next year. With respect to future global warming, these dynamic differences give important insights for the understanding of how economies might be affected by climate change. However, by means of two stage least square methods, I do not find that negative economic shocks caused by weather related disasters increase the likelihood of armed civil conflicts. This latter result is in contrast to conclusions in much of the seminal conflict literature, but similar to findings in other recent cross-country studies that use the instrument variable approach.