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CEP discussion paper
Do Giant Oilfield Discoveries Fuel Internal Armed Conflicts?
Yu-Hsiang Lei and Guy Michaels
November 2011
Paper No' CEPDP1089:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: Q34; Q33; O13

Tags: natural resources; resource curse; petroleum; armed conflict; civil war

We use new data to examine the effects of giant oilfield discoveries around the world since 1946. On average, these discoveries increase per capita oil production and oil exports by up to 50 percent. But these giant oilfield discoveries also have a dark side: they increase the incidence of internal armed conflict by about 5-8 percentage points. This increased incidence of conflict due to giant oilfield discoveries is especially high for countries that had already experienced armed conflicts or coups in the decade prior to discovery.

Do giant oilfield discoveries fuel internal armed conflicts?, Guy Michaels and Yu Hsiang Lei, Journal of Development Economics, Volume 110, September 2014