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Resource Conflict in Vulnerable Environments: Three Models Applied to Darfur

Ola Olsson ()

No 325, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: A recurring argument in the global debate is that climate deterioration is likely to make social conflicts over dwindling natural resources more common in the future. In this paper, we present a modelling framework featuring three potential mechanisms for how the allocation and dynamics of scarce renewable resources like land might cause social conflict in vulnerable environments. The rst model shows how decreasing resources make cooperative trade between two groups collapse. The second mechanism introduces a Malthusian subsistence level below which disenfranchised members of one community start to prey on the resources of another community in an appropriative coflict-setting. The third scenario explores how the long-run dynamics of resources and population levels interact to cause cycles of stagnation and recovery. Predictions from the models are then applied to the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. Our analysis suggests that effective resources per capita in the region appear to have declined by about 5/6 since the 1970s, which at least partially explains the observed disintegration of markets, the recent intensity of conflicts, and the current depopulation of large parts of Darfur.

Keywords: Market integration; resource conflict; vulnerable environments; appropriative conflict; long-run resource and population dynamics; Darfur (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O41 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev and nep-env
Date: 2008-10-23
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