In control of natural wealth? Governing the resource-conflict dynamic

Release date: 2007-11

For many developing countries, the extraction of natural resources has been a blessing, as their export can provide urgently needed development capital. For others, however, resource wealth has been a curse, as their population still faces extreme poverty and they have been haunted by corruption, government failure and violent conflict. While political and institutional deficits have been widely cited as sources for economic success or failure, and violent conflict, there has not yet been any systematic empirical analysis of the impact of governance factors on the resource-conflict dynamic. With the present study, we close this gap by examining the impact of resource governance on the risk, duration and intensity of violent conflict for a sample of 92 countries for the period 1996–2006.

Using a range of statistical methods, this study tests the impact of resource governance on the resource-conflict dynamic. More specifically, our primary focus is to examine the impact of resource type, abundance and dependence on risk and duration of violent conflict, and to explore the importance of the governance of natural resources in preventing or overcoming the resource-curse. All in all, we compiled data on a total of 198 variables for 92 countries for an 11-year time period (1996–2006).