Does disaster contribute to armed conflict? A quantitative analysis of disaster–conflict co-occurrence between 1990 and 2017

Nicolás Caso, Dorothea Hilhorst, Rodrigo Mena*, Elissaios Papyrakis

*Corresponding author for this work

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Disasters and armed conflict often co-occur, but does that imply that disasters trigger or fuel conflict? In the small but growing body of literature attempting to answer this question, divergent findings indicate the complex and contextual nature of a potential answer to this question. The purpose of this study is to contribute a robust cross-country analysis of the co-occurrence of disaster and conflict, with a particular focus on the potential role played by disaster.

Grounded in a theoretical model of disaster–conflict co-occurrence, this study merges data from 163 countries between 1990 and 2017 on armed conflict, disasters and relevant control variables (low human development, weak democratic institutions, natural resource dependence and large population size/density).

The main results of this study show that, despite a sharp increase in the co-occurrence of disasters and armed conflict over time, disasters do not appear to have a direct statistically significant relation with the occurrence of armed conflict. This result contributes to the understanding of disasters and conflicts as indirectly related via co-creation mechanisms and other factors.

This study is a novel contribution, as it provides a fresh analysis with updated data and includes different control variables that allow for a significant contribution to the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Development Issues
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (Grant number 453-14-013) and by the European Research Council under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement 884139).

© Nicolas Caso, Dorothea Hilhorst, Rodrigo Mena and Elissaios Papyrakis.

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