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Resources, Conflict, and Economic Development in Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Achyuta Adhvaryu

    (University of Michigan & NBER)

  • James Fenske

    (University of Warwick)

  • Gaurav Khanna

    (University of California – San Diego)

  • Anant Nyshadham

    (Boston College & NBER)

Abstract

Evidence suggests that natural resources drive both conflict and underdevelopment in modern Africa. We show that this relationship exists primarily when neighboring regions are resource- rich. When neighbors are poor, resources have modest impacts on conflict, and instead drive economic growth. To highlight the role played by neighbors, we simultaneously incorporate multiple mechanisms in a model of strategic interaction between parties engaged in potential conflict over such resources. The likelihood of conflict depends on both the absolute and relative resource endowments of neighboring parties, as resources fuel conflict by raising the gains from expropriation and by increasing fighting strength. Economic prosperity, as a result, is a function of equilibrium conflict prevalence determined not just by a region’s own resources but also by the resources of its neighbors. Using high-resolution spatial data on resources, conflicts, and nighttime illumination across the whole of sub- Saharan Africa, we find evidence confirming each of the model’s predictions. Structural estimates of the model reveal that conflict equilibria are more prevalent where institutional quality (measured by, e.g., risk of expropriation, property rights, voice and accountability) is worse.

Suggested Citation

  • Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske & Gaurav Khanna & Anant Nyshadham, 2018. "Resources, Conflict, and Economic Development in Africa," HiCN Working Papers 272, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:272
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stoop, Nik & Verpoorten, Marijke & van der Windt, Peter, 2019. "Artisanal or industrial conflict minerals? Evidence from Eastern Congo," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 660-674.
    2. Boxell, Levi & Dalton, John T. & Leung, Tin Cheuk, 2019. "The Slave Trade and Conflict in Africa, 1400-2000," MPRA Paper 94468, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. John D. Huber & Laura Mayoral, 2019. "Group inequality and the severity of civil conflict," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-41, March.
    4. Ang, James B. & Gupta, Satyendra Kumar, 2018. "Agricultural yield and conflict," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 397-417.
    5. Martin Gassebner & Paul Schaudt & Melvin H. L. Wong, 2020. "Armed Groups in Conflict: Competition and Political Violence in Pakistan," CESifo Working Paper Series 8372, CESifo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    conflict; resource curse; institutions; nighttime lights; Africa JEL Classification: D74; O13; Q34;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • 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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