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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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18978.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2015. "The Geography of Interstate Resource Wars," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 267-315.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18978
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