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Beyond the income effect of international trade on ethnic wars in Africa

Fabien Candau, Tchapo Gbandi and Geoffroy Guepie

Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, 2022, vol. 30, issue 3, 517-534

Abstract: We use detailed information on the location of agricultural and mining production to approximate international trade for different ethnic groups in order to study its impact on ethnic conflicts in Africa between 1993 and 2010. The goal is to go beyond the income effects of trade to study the residual effects of globalization on conflicts. We find that once we control for income but also for a wide variety of different factors in conflicts (using political variables and fixed effects), the international trade by ethnic groups has a pacific impact on conflicts. While this peaceful impact of trade is mainly found in the trade in agricultural products, it does not have a significant impact on the international trade in mining products. Finally, we propose an original two‐step analysis showing that exports significantly reduce conflicts by affecting time‐varying national characteristics. We interpret this result as an indication that globalization in Africa has participated in the formation of new national identities with peaceful effects between ethnic groups.

Date: 2022
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