Results of M. Ross’s 2006 Statistical Study of Civil War


Covers 90 civil wars from 1960-1999


“State as target” model has strong support (I differ with Ross’ interpretation)

-         High fuel rents increase risk of all CW

o      double the risk of fuel-less state

o      but only 40% greater risk if GDP per capita rises too

-         Having fuel off-shore increases risk of national and non-ethnic conflicts

-         Mined diamonds increase of all CW but only slightly (9%)

o      But can be offset if increase in per capita GDP rises too

o      If DRC/Zaire cases are dropped, no reliable effect  

-         Oddly, higher non-tax revenue does not increase CW risk


“Resources as target model” modest support (I differ with Ross’ interpretation)

-         On-shore fuel resources & non-fuel rents increases risk CW

§       if wars in Iran in 1978 and 1979 are removed, then on-shore fuel  not statistically significant

§       13 of  22 separatist conflicts were based in oil producing regions

-         we should expect that secessionist CW would be more likely than national CW if this model is correct

-         only alluvial diamonds increase risk of secessionist war

o      but secessionist conflicts not fought in diamond-producing regions

o      only 12 of 90 CWs involved diamond-producing regions


“Rebel incentives” model has partial support

-         fuel onshore is correlated with CW

-         but alluvial diamonds are not correlated in most models

-         others studies found support for this connection


“Resource curse” model has partial support

-         fuel on-shore, off-shore & primary diamonds increases CW risk

-         but not non-tax revenue


“International economy” model has partial support

-         tricky to measure validly

-         oil shocks (changes in prices of oil) increase CW in half of models

-         negative shocks only cause separatist wars

-         positive shocks only cause nationalist wars (which implies “state as target” model is more accurate


Contraband exports lengthen civil wars but individual resources do not