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The spoils of nature: Armed civil conflict and rebel access to natural resources

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  • Paivi Lujala

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology & International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO))

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    Abstract

    Why is armed civil conflict more common in resource-dependent countries than in others? Several studies have attempted to unravel mechanisms on why natural resources are linked to armed conflict, but no coherent picture has yet emerged. This article seeks to address this puzzle by concentrating on the issue of how rebel access to natural resources affects conflict. It uses data on gemstone and hydrocarbon localities throughout the world and controls for the spatial and temporal overlap of resources and conflict. The results show that the location of resources is crucial to their impact on conflict duration. If resources are located inside the actual conflict zone, the duration of conflict is doubled. Interestingly, oil and gas reserves have this effect on duration regardless of whether there has been production or not. In addition, a country-level analysis suggests that oil production increases the risk of conflict onset when located onshore; offshore production has no effect on onset. These results support the assertion that natural resources play a central role in armed civil conflicts because of the incentives and opportunities they present for rebel groups.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Peace Research Institute Oslo in its journal Journal of Peace Research.

    Volume (Year): 47 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 15-28

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:1:p:15-28

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    Web page: http://www.prio.no/

    Related research

    Keywords: conflict; conflict duration; diamonds; location; natural resources; oil;

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    Cited by:
    1. Eoin F. McGuirk & Eoin F. McGuirk, 2010. "The Illusory Leader: Natural Resources, Taxation and Accountability," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp327, IIIS.
    2. Idrobo Nicolás & Mejía Daniel & Tribin Ana María, 2014. "Illegal Gold Mining and Violence in Colombia," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(1), pages 83-111, January.
    3. Michael Bleaney & Arcangelo Dimico, . "Incidence, Onset and Duration of Civil Wars: A Review of the Evidence," Discussion Papers 09/08, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    4. Frederick Van der Ploeg & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "War and Natural Resource Exploitation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3244, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. De Luca, Giacomo & Maystadt, Jean-François & Sekeris, Petros G. & Ulimwengu, John M. & Folledo, Renato, 2012. "Mineral Resources and Conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Case of Ecological Fallacy:," IFPRI discussion papers 1193, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Bodea, Cristina, 2012. "Natural resources, weak states and civil war : can rents stabilize coup prone regimes ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6071, The World Bank.
    7. Andersen, Jørgen Juel & Aslaksen, Silje, 2013. "Oil and political survival," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 89-106.
    8. Lee Robinson & Alice Nicole Sindzingre, 2012. "China’s Ambiguous Impacts on Commodity-Dependent Countries: the Example of Sub-Saharan Africa (with a Focus on Zambia)," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-39, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
    9. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
    10. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2008. "Challenges and Opportunities for Resource Rich Economies," OxCarre Working Papers 005, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.

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