Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Lahiri, Sajal


This dissertation examines, both theoretically and empirically, the effects of international policies, especially of sanctions, on conflicts. In theoretical analysis, we consider conflicts (both civil and inter-state) related to natural resources and examine how sanctions on natural resource exports affect the intensity of conflicts. However, for the empirical analysis, we consider only the civil conflicts and examine how international sanctions affect the duration of civil conflicts. In chapter 1, we develop a two-period general equilibrium model on the relationship between natural resources and civil conflicts. Contrary to the most of the existing literature, we assume that resource extraction and wage rate are endogenous during the conflict. We find that the effects of current international sanctions on civil conflict depend critically on whether the budget constraints of the warring groups are binding or non-binding, and whether wage rate is exogenous or endogenous. Under both binding and non-binding budgets, the current sanction can be counter-productive. However, a threat of future sanction reduces conflict intensity, when the budget constraint is non-binding. An improvement in agricultural productivity may also limit the conflict. Our results also suggest that the most effective policy for conflict resolution would be bilateral piece-meal reduction in war efforts. Chapter 2 develops a two-period general equilibrium model linking natural resources to inter-state conflict, treating resource extraction and wage rate are endogenous. First, we characterize the war equilibrium and derive a number of properties of it. Second, we examine the effects of different types of trade sanctions imposed by the international community on war efforts of the two countries. We find that a temporary current sanction on both countries, or even on one of the countries, will be counter-productive, and an anticipated future sanction on both countries will unambiguously reduce war intensity. Whether an anticipated future sanction on one of countries will reduce war intensity will depend on the level of resource stock; the effect of a permanent sanction on both countries is ambiguous: war intensities will fall only if the resource stocks of the countries are sufficiently high. Finally, in chapter 3, we examine empirically the effects of international sanctions on the expected duration of civil conflicts. Contrary to the most of the previous findings, we find that sanctions reduce the expected duration of civil conflicts. Our finding is robust for different controls, different parametric models, and with consideration of endogeneity of sanctions. However, not all types of sanction are equally successful in shortening conflicts. Total economic embargoes and arms sanctions are effective, but trade sanctions, aid suspension, and other sanctions do not work. We also find that both multi-lateral and unilateral sanctions (mainly US sanctions) can reduce duration of civil wars.




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