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Nigeria: A Prime Example of the Resource Curse? Revisiting the Oil-Violence Link in the Niger Delta

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  • Annegret Maehler

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    (GIGA Institute of Global and Area Studies)

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    Abstract

    This paper studies the oil-violence link in the Niger Delta, systematically taking into consideration domestic and international contextual factors. The case study, which focuses on explaining the increase in violence since the second half of the 1990s, confirms the differentiated interplay of resource-specific and non-resource-specific causal factors. With regard to the key contextual conditions responsible for violence, the results underline the basic relevance of cultural cleavages and political-institutional and socioeconomic weakness that existed even before the beginning of the “oil era.” Oil has indirectly boosted the risk of violent conflicts through a further distortion of the national economy. Moreover, the transition to democratic rule in 1999 decisively increased the opportunities for violent struggle, in a twofold manner: firstly, through the easing of political repression and, secondly, through the spread of armed youth groups, which have been fostered by corrupt politicians. These incidents imply that violence in the Niger Delta is increasingly driven by the autonomous dynamics of an economy of violence: the involvement of security forces, politicians and (international) businessmen in illegal oil theft helps to explain the perpetuation of the violent conflicts at a low level of intensity.

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    File URL: http://repec.giga-hamburg.de/pdf/giga_10_wp120_maehler.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in its series GIGA Working Paper Series with number 120.

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    Length: 38 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:120

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    Keywords: Nigeria; natural resources; oil; political economy; violence; context sensitivity;

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    1. Anne D. Boschini & Jan Pettersson & Jesper Roine, 2006. "Resource curse or not: A question of appropriability," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_050, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    2. Christa N. Brunnschweiler & Erwin H. Bulte, 2006. "The Resource Curse Revisited and Revised: A Tale of Paradoxes and Red Herrings," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 06/61, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    3. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
    4. Jonathan Di John, 2007. "Oil abundance and violent political conflict: A critical assessment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(6), pages 961-986.
    5. Mogues, Tewodaj & Morris, Michael & Freinkman, Lev & Adubi, Abimbola & Simeon, Ehui & Nwoko, Chinedum & Taiwo, Olufemi & Nege, Caroline & Okonji, Patrick & Chete, Louis, 2008. "Agricultural public spending in Nigeria:," IFPRI discussion papers 789, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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