Jack Paine – University of Rochester Political Science, jackpaine@rochester.edu

Conflict Resource Curse

Does oil wealth make countries more susceptible to civil war? The answer depends on the type of civil war. Evidence of a conflict resource curse is limited to separatist civil wars. Ethnic groups in oil-rich regions are more likely to take up arms against the government and fight to create an independent state or autonomous region. However, the relationship goes in the opposite direction for center-seeking civil wars. Countries with higher per capita oil production experience fewer center-seeking civil wars, in which rebel groups seek to overthrow the government in the capital. Using game-theoretic models, I propose two mechanisms to comprehend this mixed empirical pattern. On the one hand, oil production creates a budget effect that boosts government revenues and makes governments better able to fend off armed challengers. On the other hand, oil production creates a greater prize of predation for rebel groups to grab. I advance our understanding of the conflict resource curse by explaining how these countervailing mechanisms interact with civil war aims.

Strategic Civil War Aims and the Resource Curse
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 2022, 17(2): 183–221.     JOURNAL LINK    •   APPENDIX

​Economic Grievances and Civil War: An Application to the Resource Curse
International Studies Quarterly, 2019, 63(2): 244-258.     JOURNAL LINK   •   APPENDIX

Rethinking the Conflict Resource Curse: How Oil Wealth Prevents Center-Seeking Civil Wars
International Organization, 2016, 70(4): 727-761.     JOURNAL LINK   •   APPENDIX   •   REPLICATION DATA