Natural resources and conflict: The crucial role of power mismatch and geographic asymmetries

Number: 698
Year: 2023
Author(s): Massimo Morelli, Dominic Rohner

This handbook chapter studies how natural resource wealth can in many contexts fuel armed conflict. Starting from a simple theoretical model, we stress the role of geography and power mismatch in the so called "natural resource curse". Drawing on recent empirical evidence, the importance of resource abundance, asymmetry and capital-intensiveness is highlighted, alongside local grievances and international interventions. We propose a series of evidence-driven policy conclusions, ranging from "smart green transition" and democratic institution building over labor-market intervention to a series of specific policies requiring international coordination.

Keywords: Natural Resources, Mining, Conflict, commitment problems, power mismatch.
JEL classification: D74,Q34.