Mines and grievances: the impact of natural resources on social cohesion

Research assistance
I was an RA for Massimo Morelli and Dominic Rohner. One of the things I did was to create digital maps that layered shapefiles of ethnic groups and natural resources. The constructed panel database makes it possible to answer questions about natural resources and conflict at the (ethnic) group level – moving away from national level analysis. See, among others: Natural Resource Distribution and Multiple Forms of Civil War and Strategic Mass Killing. And the shout-out on a popular blog.

Mines and Grievances
We are now working on a project that tries to understand the impact of natural resources at the micro-level by adversely influencing social cohesion. Mining often disrupts families and villages by outmigration of family members to mining areas or inmigration of miners. By looking at the microlevel we hope to learn more about how natural resources adversely impacts social cohesion and thereby creating an environment conducive to conflict. We also hope to overcome the endogeneity problem and make causal claims about natural resources and conflict.

Material and presentations

  • We are in the design stage


Photo 1 shows black and red casserite. Photo 2 shows coltan. Both materials are abundantly present in Eastern Congo. Natural resources are often blamed for underdevelopment and conflict. Source: Own Camera. The stones I received from a Congolese artisinal miner and now good friend (they appeared earlier in a blogpost in 2009).