What is the relationship between oil and international conflict? In an era of increased dependence on, and greater volatility within, global markets for oil and energy, this question is central to understanding contemporary world politics. It is an empirical fact that petrostates—defined as states that have at least 10% of GDP derived from oil exports—are more prone to international conflict than non-petrostates. Indeed, in the period 1965–2001, petrostates engaged in militarized interstate disputes at roughly twice the rate of non-petrostates, on average. What explains this propensity?
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