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CEP discussion paper

Do Giant Oilfield Discoveries Fuel Internal Armed Conflicts?


We use new data to examine the effects of giant oilfield discoveries around the world since 1946. On average, these discoveries increase per capita oil production and oil exports by up to 50 percent. But these giant oilfield discoveries also have a dark side: they increase the incidence of internal armed conflict by about 5-8 percentage points. This increased incidence of conflict due to giant oilfield discoveries is especially high for countries that had already experienced armed conflicts or coups in the decade prior to discovery.


Yu-Hsiang Lei and Guy Michaels

8 November 2011     Paper Number CEPDP1089

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Labour markets programme.