Previous research has established a link between oil production and armed conflict in low- and middle-income countries. Oil-related grievances are viewed as a key variable driving resentment and antistate attitudes. However, the off-the-shelf measures of existing studies (oil exports, oil revenues per capita, etc.) measure dependence and richness, not grievances among the population. This article contributes to filling this gap. Relying on an original opinion poll from the conflict-ridden Niger Delta, the analysis shows that both rebel-pursued, collective grievances (unfair oil revenue distribution) and individual grievances (livelihood destruction due to oil production) make people support antistate violence. These results lend micro-level evidence to the grievance mechanism linking oil and (support for) rebellion.

Carlo Koos

Senior Researcher