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The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars

  • Francesco Caselli
  • Massimo Morelli
  • Dominic Rohner

We establish a theoretical as well as empirical framework to assess the role of resource endowments and their geographic location for inter-State conflict. The main predictions of the theory are that conflict tends to be 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-a-vis the border. We test these predictions on a novel dataset featuring oilfield distances from bilateral borders. The empirical analysis shows that the presence and location of oil are significant and quantitatively important predictors of inter-State conflicts after WW2.

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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 13.06.

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Length: 51pp. + tables (total 55 pp.)
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130(1), February 2015, pp.267-315
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:13.06
Contact details of provider: Postal: Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: ++41 21 692.33.20
Web page:

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