Discussion paper

DP9440 The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars

We establish a theoretical as well as empirical framework to assess the role of resource endowments and their geographic location for inter-State conflict. The main predictions of the theory are that conflict tends to be more likely when at least one country has natural resources; when the resources in the resource-endowed country are closer to the border; and, in the case where both countries have natural resources, when the resources are located asymmetrically vis-a-vis the border. We test these predictions on a novel dataset featuring oilfield distances from bilateral borders. The empirical analysis shows that the presence and location of oil are significant and quantitatively important predictors of inter-State conflicts after WW2.


Caselli, F, M Morelli and D Rohner (2013), ‘DP9440 The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 9440. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp9440