The Perils of Panel IV Estimation: Revisiting the Causes of Conflict
Barrett and his co-author (Paul Christian ’08) revisit recent studies that use cross-country panel data to identify the causes of conflict. Unpacking in particular a celebrated study that claims US food aid causes prolonged conflict in recipient countries, they explain why these – and methodologically similar, panel IV – studies often fall prey to spurious trends. They lay out a process – including re-randomization and Monte Carlo simulations – for assessing whether the hypothesized drivers of conflict are plausibly causal. They show that the published claim associating US food aid shipments to recipient country conflict is inconsistent with the hypothesized policy mechanism and can be generated by a model in which food aid prevents, rather than causes, conflict.
Cosponsored with the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
Christopher B. Barrett is the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management and International Professor of Agriculture at Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. He is also a professor of economics and a fellow of the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell...