Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 02/2011

Conflict Prevention through Natural Resource Management? A Comparative Study

Annegret Mähler, Miriam Shabafrouz, Georg Strüver

January 2011

German Institute of Global and Area Studies


Natural resources are often held responsible for intrastate conflicts. As a consequence, both national and international measures to avoid the detrimental impact of resource endowments have increasingly been discussed and implemented in resource-rich countries. These measures include stabilization funds, subregional development programs, revenue-sharing regimes, and transparency initiatives. However, comparative empirical studies of the actual impact of these measures, particularly regarding their contribution to conflict prevention, are scarce. This paper contributes to the filling of this gap: combining a medium-N sample of oildependent countries and three in-depth case studies (Algeria, Nigeria, and Venezuela), we evaluate different instruments of resource management and their effects on conflict risk factors. On the one hand, the findings do not show any systematic connection between the countermeasures and a reduction in resource-related risks; on the other, the paper highlights common causal factors for the lack of implementation of resource-related countermeasures.