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Exogenous Shocks, Foreign Aid, and Civil War

  • Burcu Savun (a1) and Daniel C. Tirone (a2)

The recent civil war literature suggests that negative economic shocks in low-income countries increase the risk of civil war. Foreign aid can be an effective conflict-prevention tool in times of severe economic conditions. Aid cushions government spending from the downward pressures of economic shocks, providing recipient governments with resources they can use to make rebellion a less attractive option for aggrieved domestic groups. Using Official Development Assistance (ODA) data covering 1990 through 2004, we find that foreign aid appears to be a useful tool for preventing civil wars in the wake of negative economic shocks, and as such aid should be assessed by donors with these conflict-suppressing aspects in mind.

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