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The Geography of Interstate Resource Wars

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  • Francesco Caselli
  • Massimo Morelli
  • Dominic Rohner

Abstract

We establish a theoretical and empirical framework to assess the role of resource endowments and their geographic location in interstate conflict. The main predictions of the theory are that conflict is more likely when at least one country has natural resources, when the resources in the resource-endowed country are closer to the border, and, in the case where both countries have natural resources, when the resources are located asymmetrically vis-à-vis the border. We test these predictions on a novel data set featuring oilfield distances from bilateral borders. The empirical analysis shows that the presence and location of oil are significant and quantitatively important predictors of interstate conflicts after World War II. JEL Codes: C23, D74, F51, H56, Q34.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2015. "The Geography of Interstate Resource Wars," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 267-315.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:130:y:2015:i:1:p:267-315
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qju038
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts

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