Quantifying Conflict Risk of Agricultural Productivity Changes (CROP)

Quantifying Conflict Risk of Agricultural Productivity Changes (CROP)
Photo: Nina von Uexkull and Erik Melander
Led by Halvard Buhaug
Apr 2017 - May 2021

A recent wave of societal upheavals across the Middle East and beyond has accentuated concerns that adverse climatic conditions increase conflict risk.  A simple and sweeping climate-conflict effect is not likely but climate variability and extremes can have powerful indirect and conditional effects on political violence. The most plausible mechanism linking these phenomena is adverse agricultural production changes. Yet, little is known about the conditions under which this causal pathway is most likely to materialize. 

To get updates on events and project outputs, go visit our Climate and Conflict Blog.

The CROP project addresses this research lacuna head-on. It will be guided by following research challenges:

  1. Identify key conditions exacerbating the conflict potential of agricultural production changes
  2. Simulate implications of alternative a scenarios for future conflict risk

​The project will move beyond the research frontier along three dimensions, by explicitly 
  • ​accounting for contexts within which negative agricultural production changes are most likely to result in violent conflict; 
  • accounting for the relevant social actors involved (rural producers, urban consumers); and 
  • evaluating the implications of uncovered patterns for future conflict risk through out-of-sample validations and forecasting along state-of-the-art socioeconomic and climate change-related scenarios.
Project members: 
Halvard Buhaug, Jonas Vestby, Elisabeth Rosvold, PRIO; 
Nina von Uexkull, Håvard Hegre, Ida Rudolfsen, Uppsala; 
Andrew Linke, University of Utah.
Project period: April 2017 – May 2021
Budget: NOK 8 mill


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Buhaug, Halvard; Mihai Croicu; Hanne Fjelde & Nina von Uexkull (2021) A Conditional Model of Local Income Shock and Civil Conflict, Journal of Politics 83(1): 354–366.
Vestby, Jonas; Halvard Buhaug & Nina von Uexkull (2021) Why do some poor countries see armed conflict while others do not? A dual sector approach, World Development 138: 105273–.
Buhaug, Halvard & Nina von Uexkull (2021) Vicious circles: Violence, vulnerability, and climate change, Annual Review of Environment and Resources 46: 545–568.
Rudolfsen, Ida (2021) Food price increase and urban unrest: The role of societal organizations, Journal of Peace Research 58(2): 215–230.
Linke, Andrew & Andreas Forø Tollefsen (2021) Environmental stress and agricultural landownership in Africa, Global Environmental Change 67(102237).
von Uexkull, Nina & Halvard Buhaug (2021) Security implications of climate change: A decade of scientific progress, Journal of Peace Research 58(1): 3–17.
Linke, Andrew & Brett Ruether (2021) Weather, wheat, and war: Security implications of climate variability for conflict in Syria, Journal of Peace Research 58(1): 114–131.
Hegre, Håvard; Kristina Petrova & Nina von Uexkull (2020) Synergies and Trade-Offs in Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, Sustainability 12(20): 8729–.
von Uexkull, Nina; Marco d'Errico & Julius Jackson (2020) Drought, Resilience, and Support for Violence: Household Survey Evidence from DR Congo, Journal of Conflict Resolution 64(10): 1994–2021.
Bergius, Mikael; Tor Arve Benjaminsen; Faustin P. Maganga & Halvard Buhaug (2020) Green economy, degradation narratives, and land-use conflicts in Tanzania, World Development 129: 104850–.
Buhaug, Halvard & Jonas Vestby (2019) On Growth Projections in the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, Global Environmental Politics 19(4): 118–132.

PhD Thesis

Rosvold, Elisabeth Lio (2019) Coping with Calamity: Natural Disasters, Armed Conflict and Development Aid. PhD thesis, Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.

Book Chapter

Strand, Håvard & Halvard Buhaug (2018) Tracing Armed Conflict over Time: A Reversal of the Recent Decline?, in Backer, David; Ravinder Bhavnani; & Paul Huth, eds, Peace and Conflict 2017. New York: Routledge (16–22).

Popular Article

Benjaminsen, Tor Arve; Halvard Buhaug & Stig Jarle Hansen (2021) De egentlige årsakene til konflikter tåkelegges, Morgenbladet, 7 April.
Buhaug, Halvard & Nina von Uexkull (2021) Climate-conflict research: A decade of scientific progress, New Security Beat, 23 February.
von Uexkull, Nina & Halvard Buhaug (2021) Is climate change driving global conflict?, Political Violence at a Glance, 1 February.
Rudolfsen, Ida & Halvard Buhaug (2020) The World Food Program won the Nobel Peace Prize. Does food aid boost peace?, Washington Post, 13 October.
Rudolfsen, Ida (2018) Food insecurity and unrest, PRIO Climate & Conflict Blog, 1 June.
Buhaug, Halvard (2018) Matpriser og sosial uro [Food prices and social unrest], The Norwegian Atlantic Committee, 23 May.
Vestby, Jonas; Ida Rudolfsen & Halvard Buhaug (2018) Does hunger cause conflict?, PRIO Climate & Conflict Blog, 18 May.
Vestby, Jonas; Ida Rudolfsen & Halvard Buhaug (2018) Fører matmangel til mer krig? [Does food insecurity lead to conflict?], Bistandsaktuelt, 27 April.
Buhaug, Halvard (2017) What do the experts think?, PRIO Climate & Conflict Blog, 15 December.

Report - External Series

Buhaug, Halvard (2018) Global Security Challenges of Climate Change, Toda Peace Institute Policy Brief, 18. Tokyo.


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