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Working Paper 14-3

Oil Prices and Interstate Conflict Behavior

by Cullen S. Hendrix, Peterson Institute for International Economics

July 2014


Anecdotal evidence suggests high oil prices embolden leaders in oil-rich states to pursue more aggressive foreign policies. This article tests the conjecture in a sample of 153 countries for the time period 1947–2001. It finds strong evidence of a contingent effect of oil prices on interstate disputes, with high oil prices associated with significant increases in dispute behavior among oil-exporting states, while having either a negative or null effect on dispute behavior in nonexporting states.

Data disclosure: The data underlying this analysis are available here [xlsx].

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