Conflict and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa

2018-11-28T16:10:52Z (GMT) by Adedoyin Babajide
This thesis investigates the relationship between conflict, economic growth, state capacity and natural resources in Sub-Saharan Africa. It contributes to the limited research in this area and empirically examines these relationships using different econometric models. The first empirical chapter uses a panel dataset that covers the period 1997 - 2013 to analyse the effects of economic growth on conflict in Nigeria using the negative binomial model. The findings support the direct relationship between economic growth and conflict in Nigeria. Controlling for other factors, the results indicate that increase in growth rate - measured by annual growth rate of GDP per capita - decreases the expected number of conflicts. The study finds no evidence of a relationship between levels of wealth in a state and the incidence of conflicts. The analysis controls for factors such as spill-over effects from other states and year and state effects. Finally, to address potential concerns that economic growth could be a cause of conflict or that other unobserved factors could confound the relationship between economic growth and conflict, the chapter employs instrumental variable (IV) estimation using percentage change in rainfall as an instrument. The results with the IV estimation are similar to the results without IV in terms of both sign and significance, indicating that the negative effect of economic growth on conflicts is not due to reverse causality or omitted variables. For robustness checks, a Panel Autoregressive model (PVAR) is also employed. The second empirical chapter analyses the effect of conflict on state capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa. State capacity is measured in terms of fiscal and legal capacity. It also looks at the effects of internal and external conflicts on state capacity. The chapter adopts the Ordinary least squared (OLS) and the system generalised methods of moments (GMM) estimation methods to analyse the panel data consisting of 49 Sub-Saharan countries over the period 2000 - 2015. The results suggest that conflicts have a negative and significant effect on state capacity. However, when military expenditure is used as a proxy for state capacity it is found that conflict strengthens state capacity. The results are consistent with theoretical argument that internal conflicts polarise societies and make it more difficult for governments to reach a consensus in investing in state capacity, while external conflicts mobilise domestic population against a common enemy thereby helping in state capacity building. Finally, the third empirical chapter examines the effect of natural resources on conflict onset and duration using discrete choice models with a dataset covering the period 1980 -2016. The results on the duration analysis show that natural resources prolong duration of conflicts. However, it is found that not all natural resources prolong duration of conflicts. Oil production does not seem to affect duration, whereas oil reserves and gas production lengthens the duration. The findings from the onset analysis show that both production and reserves of natural resources increase the risk of conflict onset.