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Land Inequality and Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa

Petros Sekeris ()

Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, 2011, vol. 16, issue 2, 1-18

Abstract: This note succinctly reviews the existing literature on natural resources and conflicts while giving special emphasis on a particular type of natural resource, productive land. Treating land as a separate natural resource constitutes an essential step in our understanding of the roots of conflicts because of the intrinsic peculiarities of productive land. Indeed, contrary to other “lootable” resources, the opportunity cost of fighting over land is the agricultural product itself, while a second major distinction lies in the value of the prize, i.e. agricultural production, which is typically very low, thus implying that the fighting technologies are rather rudimentary. Putting in perspective the existing theoretical and empirical literature, we construct a convincing argument underlying the determinant role of relative (versus absolute) land scarcities in triggering conflicts.

Date: 2011
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