Globalisation and Conflict: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa

Stephen Pinker (2011) advances that various forms of violence such as homicide, rape, torture and conflict have decreased over time because of the following historical shifts in society: pacification process, civilising process, humanitarian and rights revolutions, and extended periods of peace. We regard these shifts as processes encompassed in globalisation and investigate the effects of globalisation on conflict, one of the forms of violence Pinker discusses. We use panel data from 46 sub-Saharan African countries dated 1970 to 2013 and find that increased globalisation significantly reduces severity of conflict through increased opportunity costs. Furthermore, we disaggregate globalisation into its three key components (social, political and economic openness) and find that social globalisation drives the results, an indication of the significance of increased migration and dissemination of information in fostering tolerance and empathy. We also disaggregate conflict into intrastate and interstate and find that the severity of intrastate conflict is significantly reduced by the globalisation processes compared to interstate conflict.

Working paper 634
1 September 2016

International Development Policy

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