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Resource Conflict in Vulnerable Environments: Three Models Applied to Darfur

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  • Olsson, Ola

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

A recurring argument in the global debate is that climate deterioration is likely to make social conflicts over dwindling natural resources more common in the future. In this paper, we present a modelling framework featuring three potential mechanisms for how the allocation and dynamics of scarce renewable resources like land might cause social conflict in vulnerable environments. The rst model shows how decreasing resources make cooperative trade between two groups collapse. The second mechanism introduces a Malthusian subsistence level below which disenfranchised members of one community start to prey on the resources of another community in an appropriative coflict-setting. The third scenario explores how the long-run dynamics of resources and population levels interact to cause cycles of stagnation and recovery. Predictions from the models are then applied to the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. Our analysis suggests that effective resources per capita in the region appear to have declined by about 5/6 since the 1970s, which at least partially explains the observed disintegration of markets, the recent intensity of conflicts, and the current depopulation of large parts of Darfur.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/18371
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 325.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 23 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0325

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Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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Related research

Keywords: Market integration; resource conflict; vulnerable environments; appropriative conflict; long-run resource and population dynamics; Darfur;

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  1. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2007. "A Bioeconomic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium: Body Size and Population Size in the Long-Run," Diskussionspapiere der Wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Leibniz Universität Hannover dp-373, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  2. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
  3. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2004. "Institutions and the Resource Curse," DEGIT Conference Papers c009_012, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  4. Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-38, March.
  5. Andre, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-47, January.
  6. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  7. Olsson, Ola & Congdon, Heather, 2003. "Congo: The Prize of Predation," Working Papers in Economics 97, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 30 Oct 2003.
  8. Grossman, Herschel I. & Mendoza, Juan, 2003. "Scarcity and appropriative competition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 747-758, November.
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