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Ethnic fractionalization, natural resources and armed conflict

[journal article]

Basedau, Matthias; Wegenast, Tim C.

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Abstract Thus far, researchers working on ethnicity and resources as determinants of civil conflict have operated largely independently of each other. While there is plenty of evidence that natural resources may spur armed conflict, empirical evidence for the nexus between ethnic fractionalization and conflict remains inconclusive. Some authors conclude that ethnically fractionalized societies are actually spared from intrastate violence. Others find either a positive relationship or none at all between ethnic fragmentation and internal conflict. In this context, this paper serves two purposes: first, it shows that salience-based fractionalization indices are associated with a higher risk of ethnic conflict onset; second, it finds evidence that oil further increases the conflict potential within fractionalized countries. The combination of oil and a shared identity seems to help overcome the collective action problems associated with rebellion, by providing recruitment pools, strong motives and the necessary financial means for insurgency. Employing logit models for pooled time-series cross-sectional data, our quantitative analysis shows that various ethnic fractionalization indicators are robustly linked to a substantially increased risk of ethnic armed conflict onset in a subset of oil-abundant countries.
Keywords ethnic conflict; violence; natural resources; crude oil; ethnic group; fragmentation; civil war; economic factors
Classification Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Method empirical; quantitative empirical
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 1-26
Journal Conflict Management and Peace Science, 31 (2013) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0738894213508692
ISSN 1549-9219
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.