Essay: Why does the endowment of natural resources cause some countries to experience civil war while others escape it?

Why does the endowment of natural resources cause some countries to experience civil war while others escape it? Under what conditions do natural resources increase the likelihood of civil war?
1.1 Introduction:
For many years, international peace and conflict research was focused on interstate wars, but since the mid-nineties there has been a growing body of literature on the causes of civil wars (Chojnacki 2006). This expansion of literature was brought by an alteration in international warfare (). Since the 1950s, international warfare has changed, more than two thirds of all wars are fought internally and the number of civil war has also increased (Themn??r and Wallensteen 2014). The number of civil wars globally increased after the Cold War; however, after the Cold War, emphasis was also put on global development. Many have placed their hopes in the promise that the endowment of natural resources would raise developing countries out of poverty (Le Billion, 2005). The endowment of natural resources would not only help generate revenues and employment but also the required investment capital for a monetary takeoff (Le Billion, 2005). Conversely, Mildner, Richter and Lauster, (2011) state that access to natural resources is increasingly perceived as one of the biggest security risks of the 21st century.
Since the mid-1990s, there has been a growing body of literature on the causes of civil war. Various authors have highlighted a possible relationship between the endowment of natural resources and civil war, adding to the literature on the so-called resource curse. Resource Curse Thesis was first defined by Auty (1993); he states that the endowment of natural resource increases the likelihood that countries will experience negative economic, political and social outcomes including poor economic performance, low levels of democracy, and civil war. Several scholars have linked natural resources with civil war. Scholars have stated that natural resources play a key role in triggering and prolonging civil wars. Recent studies by Collier and Hoeffler (2004); Fjelde (2009); Humphreys (2005); Lujala, Gleditsch and Gilmore (2005); Fearon and Latin (2003); Fearon (2005) and Ross (2004) have found that abundance of oil and diamonds wealth is strongly correlated with civil war. Ross (2014) states that: abundance of natural resource wealth makes states political weaker, therefore less able to prevent rebellions; and natural resources provide the opportunity for rebellion as they increase the availability of finance for local insurgents as means of funding their operations.
1.2 Purpose of the Study
In the literature, scholars have researched the endowment of natural resources and its impact on the onset of civil war. However, while these scholars forecast that natural resources and civil war onset are heavily linked, they do not provide a sound clarification for the perplexing reality that a number of countries around the world with similar types of natural resources have not experienced civil war while others have avoid it. For example, Norway and Libya are both oil rich states but Libya has suffered from the resource curse and civil war. These interpretations suggest that the natural resource-civil war relationship is still not clear and needs further research.
This dissertation is inspired by Collier and Hoeffler’s (2004) paper ‘Greed and Grievance in Civil War’ and Fearon and Laitin’s (2003) seminal work. This dissertation also explores the relation between the endowment of natural resources and armed civil war; however, the primary aim of this dissertation is to challenge Collier and Hoffeler’s (2004) and Fearon and Laitin’s (2003) thinking that natural resources invite civil war. This dissertation argues that the likelihood of civil war may depend on resource related risk factors such as: levels of resource dependence; levels of resource abundance; institutional quality; pre- existing ethnic fractionalization; levels of corruption; and regime characteristics. This dissertation argues that resource risk factors can explain why the endowment of natural resources causes some countries to experience civil war while others escape it.

Aim:

The aim of the dissertation is to gain an understanding of how natural resources impact civil war onset, in particular, is on unraveling why some countries with natural resource wealth experience armed civil war but others do not.

Objectives:

a) To identify the resource risk factors from the civil war literature.

b) To select a sample of oil and diamond exporting countries in Sub-Saharan Africa from DIADATA and PETRODATA database
c) To construct a ‘Truth Table’ based on the resource risk factors and to apply them to the sample of oil and diamond exporting countries and use Crisp Set Qualitative Comparative analysis to test the hypothesis

d) To test if the resource risk factors are universal to all primary commodities by comparing the analysis of oil with diamonds.

e) To provide policy recommendation based on the analysis.

To answer the dissertation question ‘Why do some primary commodities exporting countries suffer from civil war while other avoid it? – Under what conditions do natural resources increase the risk of civil war’? and to achieve the aims and objective this dissertation examines the Sub-Saharan region. This dissertation focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa for two reasons. Firstly, Sub-Saharan Africa region has more than 20 countries, which are blessed with various natural resources (). Yet, the living standards in Sub-Saharan Africa remain bad compared to other regions that are also blessed with natural resources. Secondly, Sub-Saharan Africa has recently become one of the hot spots of natural resource conflict in the world. The Sub-Saharan African has been plagued with natural resource conflict such as ‘Oil Conflicts’ and ‘Blood Diamonds’. Therefore, examining this region of the world is of particular interest as it can provide answers on how to manage natural resources effectively and how to prevent resource conflict. Examining the relationship between natural resources and civil war is of huge interest and importance in the academic and political circles. Understanding the relationship between natural resources and civil war onset can help manages natural resources in a sustainable manner and can contribute to forming policies and laws that can aid build and maintain peace in the conflict ridden countries (Espedal, 2012).
1. 3 Outline of Paper:
This dissertation is divided into four parts: firstly, the second chapter of the dissertation looks at the current theoretical and methodological debates surrounding the civil war- natural resource relationship. The literature review which highlights the fact that the current literature has failed to acknowledge why some primary commodities exporting countries have experienced civil war while other avoid it. The third chapter looks Crisp Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (csQCA) as the main methodological approach to analyse the research questions. Subsequently, the third chapter develops hypothesis that certain resource risk factors of natural resource make countries more vulnerable to civil war. These conditions are tested using a sample of oil and diamond exporting countries from Sub-Saharan Africa. The fourth chapter presents interpretations of the results. Lastly, the fifth chapter provides the relevant conclusions and highlights the dissertations contribution to the current debate on civil war and natural resource relationship.

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