The Point of Attack: Where and Why Does Oil Cause Armed Conflict in Africa?


Oil revenues constitute a lucrative prize, motivating armed groups to fight for control of resource-rich territory. Yet, we demonstrate, armed groups rarely attack sites with the most oil: oil fields and terminals. To explain this finding, we develop a new model with elements of crisis-bargaining and Blotto games. We use data on the location of oil infrastructure and armed conflict events to assess the implications of the model. Overall, we argue that groups sabotage pipelines because they expect these sites to be vulnerable and disruption can compel governments to address their demands.

Working Paper
Darin Christensen
Darin Christensen
Associate Professor of Public Policy & Political Science

Political scientist interested in conflict and development.