Monday, September 30, 2013

Do natural resources matter for interstate and intrastate armed conflict?

Journal of Peace Research: 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.

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