You all remember that scene in Fools and Horses when the Trotters were banged up in a Spanish jail. Rodney says to Grandad: "You mean you were gun-running during a civil war?" Grandad replies: "That's the best time to do it, Rodney."
Well, Grandad was wrong. This new paper finds no significant impact of civil wars upon the prices of AK-47s. This could well be because suppliers follow Grandad's advice, so supply rises to meet demand.
What it does find, though, is that AK-47 prices are around $500 lower in Africa than elsewhere - around $150 compared to $650. This is another way in which the law of one price doesn't hold.
This suggests an obvious policy - western governments should buy Africa's AK-47s. This would transfer wealth to the continent and reduce the means of conflict.
The drawback, however, is the time-inconsistency problem.