A Causal Exploration of Conflict Events and Commodity Prices of Sudan


Junyi Chen, Shahriar Kibriya, David Bessler and Edwin Price

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Though recent literature uncovers linkages between commodity prices and conflict, the causal direction of the relationship remains ambiguous. We attempt to contribute in this strand of research by studying the dynamic relationship of commodity prices and the onsets of conflict events in Sudan.

Using monthly data ranging from January 2001 through December 2012, we identify a structural breakpoint in the multivariate time series model of prices of the three staple foods (sorghum, millet, and wheat) and conflict measure (number of conflict events) in September of 2011. Applying Structure Vector Autoregression (SVAR) and Linear Non-Gaussian Acyclic Model (LiNGAM), we find that wheat price is a cause of conflict events in Sudan. We find no feedback from conflict to commodity prices. This paper is currently under review by the Journal of Policy Modeling.