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Oil and Revolutionary Governments: Fuel for International Conflict

  • Jeff D. Colgan (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 12 October 2010

Oil-exporting states, or petrostates, engage in militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) at a much higher rate on average than nonpetrostates. Why is this so? Further, what explains the variation among the petrostates in adopting aggressive foreign policies and engaging in MIDs on that basis? This article develops a theory that proposes that revolutionary petrostates have a higher propensity to launch MIDs than comparable nonpetrostates. This theory is tested with statistical analysis using a new quantitative data set that identifies revolutionary governments in the period 1945–2001. The results show that petro-revolutionary governments constitute a special threat to international peace and security. This evidence of resource-backed aggression challenges the conventional view of petrostates as the targets of international competition for resources.

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International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
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