DP8799 Aiding Conflict: The Impact of U.S. Food Aid on Civil War

Author(s): Nathan Nunn, Nancy Qian
Publication Date: February 2012
Keyword(s): Civil Conflict, Foreign Aid, Humanitarian Aid
JEL(s): F34, F5
Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8799

This paper examines the effect of U.S. food aid on conflict in recipient countries. To establish a causal relationship, we exploit time variation in food aid caused by fluctuations in U.S. wheat production together with cross-sectional variation in a country's tendency to receive any food aid from the United States. Our estimates show that an increase in U.S. food aid increases the incidence, onset and duration of civil conflicts in recipient countries. Our results suggest that the effects are larger for smaller scale civil conflicts. No effect is found on interstate warfare.