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Resource Discovery and Conflict in Africa: What Do the Data Show?

Author

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  • Rabah Arezki
  • Sambit Bhattacharyya
  • Nemera Mamo

Abstract

The empirical relationship between natural resources and conflict in Africa is not very well understood. Using a novel geocoded dataset on resource discovery and conflict we are able to construct a quasi-natural experiment to explore the causal effect of (giant and major) oil and mineral discoveries on conflict in Africa at the grid level corresponding to a spatial resolution of 0.5 x 0.5 degree covering the period 1946 to 2008. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find no evidence of natural resources triggering conflict in Africa after controlling for grid-specific fixed factors and time varying common shocks. Resource discovery appears to have improved local income measured by nightlights which could be reducing the conflict likelihood. We observe little or no heterogeneity in the relationship across resource type, size of discovery, pre and post conclusion of the cold war, and institutional quality. The relationship remains unchanged at the regional and national levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Rabah Arezki & Sambit Bhattacharyya & Nemera Mamo, 2015. "Resource Discovery and Conflict in Africa: What Do the Data Show?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2015-14
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    Cited by:

    1. Keller, Michael, 2020. "Wasted windfalls: Inefficiencies in health care spending in oil rich countries," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    2. Nouf Alsharif & Sambit Bhattacharyya & Maurizio Intartaglia, 2016. "Economic Diversification in Resource Rich Countries: Uncovering the State of Knowledge," Working Paper Series 09816, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    3. Ralph de Haas & Steven Poelhekke, 2016. "Mining Matters: Natural Resource Extraction and Local Business Constraints," CESifo Working Paper Series 6198, CESifo.
    4. Nouf Nasser Alsharif, 2017. "Three essays on growth and economic diversification in resource-rich countries," Economics PhD Theses 0317, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    5. Alsharif, Nouf & Bhattacharyya, Sambit & Intartaglia, Maurizio, 2017. "Economic diversification in resource rich countries: History, state of knowledge and research agenda," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 154-164.
    6. Lessmann, Christian & Steinkraus, Arne, 2019. "The geography of natural resources, ethnic inequality and civil conflicts," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 33-51.
    7. Joeri Smits & Yibekal Tessema & Takuto Sakamoto & Richard Schodde, 2016. "The inequality-resource curse of conflict: Heterogeneous effects of mineral deposit discoveries," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-46, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Maarten Voors & Peter Van Der Windt & Kostadis J. Papaioannou & Erwin Bulte, 2017. "Resources and Governance in Sierra Leone’s Civil War," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(2), pages 278-294, February.
    9. De Haas, Ralph & Poelhekke, Steven, 2019. "Mining matters: Natural resource extraction and firm-level constraints," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 109-124.
    10. Christian Lessmann & Arne Steinkraus, 2017. "The Geography of Natural Resources, Ethnic Inequality and Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 6299, CESifo.
    11. Ralph De Haas & Steven Peolhekke, 2016. "Mining Matters: Natural Resource Extraction," OxCarre Working Papers 175, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    12. Nemera Gebeyehu Mamo, 2018. "Essays on natural resources in Africa: local economic development, multi-ethnic coalitions and armed conflict," Economics PhD Theses 0518, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    13. Anouk Rigterink, 2018. "Diamonds: Rebel's and Farmer's best friend," OxCarre Working Papers 211, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    14. Joeri Smits & Yibekal Tessema & Takuto Sakamoto & Richard Schodde, 2016. "The inequality-resource curse of conflict: Heterogeneous effects of mineral deposit discoveries," WIDER Working Paper Series 046, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Henry, Alexandre, 2019. "Transmission channels of the resource curse in Africa: A time perspective," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 13-20.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Resource discovery; Conflict onset; Conflict incidence; Conflict intensity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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