What connections exist between natural resource wealth and violent conflict? What do such connections imply for policies to build peace in resource-rich areas? This synthesis takes stock of what social science research has to say about these questions.
In the first part, it reviews the academic literature on resource wealth and conflict. Key findings include that dependence of resource exports is more closely tied to conflict than resource abundance; that resource wealth is more important in explaining why civil wars endure than why they break out; and that resources with attributes that make them easy to extract and sell are more closely linked to civil war duration than other resources.
The second part presents policy implications of these findings as well as other research on pro-peace resource management. Recommendations relate to conflict financing, war economies, fiscal transparency, conflict-sensitive business, and revenue sharing. In concluding the debate is summed up and an agenda for research and policy is outlined.
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