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Rainfall inequality, trust and civil conflict in Nigeria

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

Do changes in the distribution of rainfall between ethnic groups increase the risk of armed conflicts within Nigeria? In this paper, we exploit variation in rainfall during the growing season, to study how resource inequality between ethnic groups affects the risks of violent conflicts in Nigeria. Our main results show that a one standard deviation change in between-group rainfall inequality during the growing season increases civil conflicts prevalence in Nigeria by about
seven percentage points. This relationship is driven, in part, by declining social capital. Specifically, we demonstrated that an unequal distribution of rainfall between ethnic groups reinforces citizens grievances over government performance and creates mistrust between predominantly farming communities and those engaged in nomadic herding. The analysis highlights the need to develop conflict-sensitive mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce the adverse effects of climatic shock.