Do Natural Resources Matter for Interstate and Intrastate Armed Conflict?

Journal of Peace Research 51/2: 227–243.

Posted: 5 Dec 2017 Last revised: 12 Dec 2017

See all articles by Vally Koubi

Vally Koubi

University of Bern - Department of Economics

Gabriele Spilker

ETH Zurich - Center for Comparative and International Studies

Tobias Boehmelt

ETH Zürich

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich

Date Written: August 21, 2013

Abstract

This article reviews the existing theoretical arguments and empirical findings linking renewable and non-renewable natural resources to the onset, intensity, and duration of intrastate as well as interstate armed conflict. Renewable resources are supposedly connected to conflict via scarcity, while non-renewable resources are hypothesized to lead to conflict via resource abundance. Based upon our analysis of these two streams in the literature, it turns out that the empirical support for the resource scarcity argument is rather weak. However, the authors obtain some evidence that resource abundance is likely to be associated with conflict. The article concludes that further research should generate improved data on low-intensity forms of conflict as well as resource scarcity and abundance at subnational and international levels, and use more homogenous empirical designs to analyze these data. Such analyses should pay particular attention to interactive effects and endogeneity issues in the resource–conflict relationship.

Keywords: interstate conflict, intrastate conflict, resource abundance, resource scarcity

Suggested Citation

Koubi, Vally and Spilker, Gabriele and Boehmelt, Tobias and Bernauer, Thomas, Do Natural Resources Matter for Interstate and Intrastate Armed Conflict? (August 21, 2013). Journal of Peace Research 51/2: 227–243.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3080338

Vally Koubi (Contact Author)

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

Schanzeneckstrasse 1
Bern, CH-3001
Switzerland

Gabriele Spilker

ETH Zurich - Center for Comparative and International Studies ( email )

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Tobias Boehmelt

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015
Switzerland

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ib.ethz.ch

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