Temper worsening? Could be the climate.


A study of studies by economists from Princeton and UCal, Berkeley, has found that as the climate worsens due to global warming, human violence is likely to get more frequent and intensified. The economists don’t know the precise terms of this intriguing relationship, but think a broad range of factors including neurophysiology and economic duress could be driving it. One significant finding is that one standard-deviation’s increase in some key climate variable’s value, like temperature, is likely to cause a whopping 14% rise in violence.

The study is also important, claimed Edward Miguel, one of the authors from UCal, because it provides a lot of quantitative evidence to their claims that was missing earlier. It tracked the climate and human conflicts since 8,000 BC, and studied them in a regression framework that threw up the positive correlation conclusion. I corresponded with Prof. Miguel on this for my story in The Hindu. Also, here’s the abstract of their paper.