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Are All Resources Cursed? Coffee, Oil and Armed Confict in Colombia

  • Oeindrila Dube

    ()

  • Juan F. Vargas

    ()

The Resource Curse" posits a positive association between the value of natural commodities and civil conflict. In this paper, we suggest that the value-to-violence relationship differs across commodities, and that the factor intensity of production determines whether a rise in the price of a legally traded good will exacerbate conflict. We exploit exogenous price shocks for coffee and oil to test this hypothesis, using data on politically-motivated violence in Colombia over 1988 to 2004. We find that a drop in coffee prices during the 1990s led to a disproportionate rise in conflict in the coffee areas. Poverty dynamics follow a similar pattern, while substitution into drug crops do not, which suggests that it is the fall in income rather than the drug trade that fuelled this effect. In contrast, we find that oil prices are positively related to clashes with government forces, and that state revenue is used to strengthen military presence in oil areas. Our results suggest that the income channel is critical in determining how price shocks to labor-intensive commodities affect insurgency. However, for capital-intensive goods, the revenue effect predominates in mediating how the value of the commodity affects violence."

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Paper provided by CERAC -CENTRO DE RECURSOS PARA EL ANÁLISIS DE CONFLICTOS- in its series DOCUMENTOS DE CERAC with number 002024.

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Length: 54
Date of creation: 13 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:col:000150:002024
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  1. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
  2. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  4. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2002. "Institutions and the resource curse," GE, Growth, Math methods 0210004, EconWPA.
  5. Do, Quy-Toan & Iyer, Lakshmi, 2007. "Poverty, social divisions, and conflict in Nepal," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4228, The World Bank.
  6. Robinson, James A & Torvik, Ragnar & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "Political Foundations of the Resource Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 3422, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Angrist, Joshua & Kugler, Adriana, 2007. "Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income, and Civil Conflict in Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 2790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Daniele Giovannucci & José Leibovich & Diego Pizano & Banco Mundial, 2002. "Colombia Coffee Sector Study," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002135, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  9. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Papers 517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  10. Barron, Patrick & Kaiser, Kai & Pradhan, Menno, 2004. "Local conflict in Indonesia : Measuring incidence and identifying patterns," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3384, The World Bank.
  11. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1999. "The big push, natural resource booms and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-76, June.
  12. Deininger, Klaus, 2003. "Causes and consequences of civil strife - micro-level evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3045, The World Bank.
  13. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  14. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
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