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How Do Natural Resources Influence Civil War? Evidence from Thirteen Cases

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  • Ross, Michael L.
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    Abstract

    Recent studies have found that natural resources and civil war are highly correlated. Yet the causal mechanisms behind the correlation are not well understood, in part because data on civil wars is scarce and of poor quality. In this article I examine thirteen recent civil wars to explore the mechanisms behind the resource-conflict correlation. I describe seven hypotheses about how resources may influence a conflict, specify the observable implications of each, and report which mechanisms can be observed in a sample of thirteen civil wars in which natural resources were most likely to have played a role. I find that two of the most widely cited causal mechanisms do not appear to be valid; that oil, nonfuel minerals, and drugs are causally linked to conflict, but legal agricultural commodities are not; and that resource wealth and civil war are linked by a variety of mechanisms, including several that others had not identified.For their comments on earlier drafts, I am grateful to Paul Collier, J. R. Deshazo, Pierre Englebert, Barbara Geddes, Anke Hoeffler, Macartan Humphreys, Philippe Le Billon, Roy Licklider, Dan Posner, Ken Shultz, and Libby Wood.

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    File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S002081830458102X
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.

    Volume (Year): 58 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 01 (February)
    Pages: 35-67

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:58:y:2004:i:01:p:35-67_58

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    Cited by:
    1. Waseem Ahmad & Colin Soskolne & Tanvir Ahmed, 2012. "Strategic thinking on sustainability: challenges and sectoral roles," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 67-83, February.
    2. Rigterink, Anouk S., 2010. "The wrong suspect. An enquiry into the endogeneity of natural resource measures to civil war," MPRA Paper 45263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Rettberg, Angelika & Leiteritz, Ralf & Nasi, Carlo, 2010. "Entrepreneurial Activity and Civil War in Colombia: Exploring the Mutual Determinants between Armed Conflict and the Private Sector," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Working Paper W, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Vittorio Daniele, 2011. "Natural Resources and the 'Quality' of Economic Development," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(4), pages 545-573.
    5. Bashir, Malik Fahim & Xu, Changsheng & Zaman, Khalid & Akhmat, Ghulam & Ikram, Muhammad, 2013. "Impact of foreign political instability on Chinese exports," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 802-807.
    6. Rigterink, Anouk S., 2011. "Diamonds and violence in Africa. Uncovering relationships and mechanisms," MPRA Paper 45235, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Eli Berman & Jacob N. Shapiro & Joseph H. Felter, 2011. "Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 766 - 819.
    8. Bruck, Tilman & Naude, Wim & Verwimp, Philip, 2013. "Entrepreneurship and violent conflict in developing countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. James Piazza, 2011. "The illicit drug trade, counternarcotics strategies and terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 297-314, December.

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