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

Author

Listed:
  • 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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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/csae-wps-2015-14.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ralph de Haas & Steven Poelhekke, 2016. "Mining Matters: Natural Resource Extraction and Local Business Constraints," CESifo Working Paper Series 6198, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. 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).
    3. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:154-164 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. Christian Leßmann & Arne Steinkraus, 2017. "The Geography of Natural Resources, Ethnic Inequality and Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 6299, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Resource discovery; Conflict onset; Conflict incidence; Conflict intensity;

    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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