Political economy of dynamic resource wars

Frederick van der Ploeg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The political economy of exhaustible resource extraction is analysed in three contexts. First, if an incumbent faces a threat of being removed once and for all by a rival faction, extraction becomes more voracious if the factions do not share rents equally. Second, perennial political conflict cycles are more inefficient if constitutional cohesiveness or the partisan in-office bias is large and political instability is high. Third, resource wars are more intense if constitutional cohesiveness is weak, the incumbent has a partisan in-office bias, reserves of resources are high, the wage is low, governments can be less frequently removed from office, and fighting technology has less decreasing returns to scale. Resource depletion in such wars is more rapacious if there is more government instability, the political system is less cohesive, and the partisan in-office bias is smaller.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-782
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Cohesiveness
  • Contests
  • Dynamic resource wars
  • Exploitation investment
  • Hold-up problem
  • Partisan bias
  • Political conflict
  • Rapacious depletion


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