About a year ago I became the Book Review Editor at Faith & Economics, a peer-reviewed economics journal published by the Association of Christian Economists. It has been a rewarding experience so far. Our last issue, for example, included reviews of Scott Cunningham’s Causal Inference: The Mixtape, Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology, Paul Oslington’s Political Economy as Natural Theology, W. Kip Viscusi’s Pricing Lives, and Paul Wilson’s A Sacred Journey.
I chose to review Chris Blattman’s new book Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace, as I have been anticipating the release of this book for quite some time now. My review, which is forthcoming in Faith & Economics is available as a pre-print here. Here are the first two paragraphs of my review:
Continue reading “Review of ‘Why We Fight’—forthcoming in Faith & Economics”
I am happy to announce that a short research note titled “COVID-19 and Conflict,” co-authored with Colette Salemi, is now out in World Development. It is a modest study, but one that we hope will inspire and motivate future research relating to pandemic-related disruptions and inter-group conflict. Here are some highlights:
Continue reading “COVID-19 and Trends in Conflict Globally”
In a short article on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog, my colleague Colette Salemi writes about our research on trends in conflict events and the coronavirus pandemic around the world. Basically, we really lack sufficient evidence to make credible claims about the relationship between the pandemic and violent conflict and simple time-series analysis highlights that the relationship may be highly variable across contexts.
Continue reading “Does covid-19 raise the risk of violent conflict?”
I recently stumbled upon this new(ish) paper, by Benjamin Crost and Joseph Felter published in the June 2020 issue of the Journal of the European Economic Association. This paper shows a plausibly causal link between the export value of agricultural products (e.g. bananas in this case) and violent civil conflict. This is an important and interesting link because decades-old theories of economic development suggest the shift to high-value (and export-oriented) agricultural production is an important mechanism driving economic growth and poverty reduction.
Let’s dig into this bananas paper! (Okay, sorry about that.)
Continue reading “Export Crops and Extra Conflict”
The natural resource curse (sometimes called “Dutch disease”) was one of my first fascinations in development economics. It represents the apparent “paradox” of a boom in natural resource wealth leading to less economic growth. There are, of course, numerous theories as to why this observation persists. One popular theory, that is repeatedly tested empirically, is that sharp and dramatic changes in the prices of these resources lead to conflict, which in turn slows economic growth.
Continue reading “Do Commodity Price Shocks Cause Conflict?”
What does the threat of and the policy response to COVID-19 mean for inter-group conflict worldwide?
This is the question at the center of a new (and short) working paper, by me and my super-star colleague Colette Salemi. In this paper, using data from the ACLED Project, we track time-series trends for different types of inter-group conflict and evaluate discernible changes taking place as global awareness of COVID-19 spread.
Continue reading “COVID-19 and Conflict—New Working Paper”
In the fall of 2013, while living in Kitale—a town in Western Kenya—I remember reading through several job market papers posted in blog form on the World Bank’s Development Impact blog. The experience, in part, inspired me to pursue graduate studies in development economics.
Continue reading “My Job Market Paper, in Blog Form”
Over on the Economics that Really Matters blog, I’ve written a recap post on a subset of papers from the 2019 Midwest International Economic Development Conference (MidDev). The post is titled: “The Economics of Violence, Conflict, and Crime in Developing Countries.”
Continue reading “MidDev 2019 Recap”
Over on the (always excellent) Economics That Really Matters blog I (with Heidi Kaila) recapped all of the papers related to conflict and violence at the 2019 Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) Conference.
Continue reading “The Causes and Consequences of Conflict and Violence”
Seemingly everyone knows about ‘conflict minerals’. They are probably in our phones and laptops—even some of our jewelry is made out of them. Almost everyone wants to make ‘conflict minerals’ a thing of the past. Despite having little to do with Wall Street financial reform, Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act implemented a reporting requirement on all publicly traded companies in the US. Modeled after the “Kimberly Process”, the international regulation on ‘blood diamonds’, the Dodd-Frank Act requires companies to report annually on audits investigating the presence of ‘conflict minerals’ in their supply chain.
Continue reading “‘Conflict Minerals’ and the Dodd Frank Act – New Working Paper”