Commodity Prices and Violence

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: In this study it is theorized that the world market price of a certain commodity should affect the intensity of the violence in conflict zones in which this commodity is produced. This is tested on the Second Congo War and the continuing violence since, using statistical methods to analyse the effect of the world market price of gold, diamonds, oil, tin, copper, cobalt and coltan. The methods used are time series graphs for a visual presentation, regression analysis to test the potential correlations and fixed effect analysis to test the strength of the effect by predicting the intensity of the conflict using world market prices. The predicted effect was only found for some of the commodities included in the analysis. The main findings are that violence in a region follows the world market price of relevant commodities, but with a delay of approximately two years. This is only true for the most violent regions, where there were several actors taking part in the resource plunder. Additional findings included that tin is the most prominent conflict mineral of eastern Congo, rather than gold or coltan as is usually suggested in the literature, and that fixed effects analysis can be used to predict future level of violence.

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