Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Political Science


Political Science

Major Professor

Michael G. Huelshoff; Richard W. Frank

Second Advisor

Christine L. Day


Climate change presents a wide range of concerns that can jeopardize international security. Among those concerns are neo-Malthusian worries of diminishing natural resources. Predictive models suggest that rainfall and temperature anomalies have the potential to reduce water basins, crop production, increase land degradation among other perils that threaten human security. This concern is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa given the region’s strong dependence on rain-fed agriculture. Despite strong claims from various world leaders and scientists of a direct climate-conflict nexus, little empirical evidence has been devoted to find a systematic causal pathway of this kind. What is more, the literature not explored the relationship between climate change and low-intensity forms of social unrest. Therefore, contrary to most of the literature that explores a direct climate-conflict relationship, this dissertation contributes to the literature along two lines. First, it explores the relationship between climate change and socio-political unrest. Second, rather than simply assume a direct relationship between climate shocks and conflict, this dissertation examines: a) the effects of climate change on food scarcity, and the impact of that scarcity, in turn, on the likelihood of social unrest and conflict, and b) the effects of climate change on land degradation, that the impact of that degradation, in turn, on the frequency of communal violence.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.