Determinants of Environmental Conflict: When Do Communities Mobilize Against Fossil Fuel Production?

Journal of Conflict Resolution, Forthcoming

60 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2021

See all articles by Andrew Cheon

Andrew Cheon

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Shi-Teng Kang

The Nature Conservancy

Swetha Ramachandran

Graduate Institute for International Studies and Development

Date Written: February 12, 2021

Abstract

When do indigenous and other negatively affected populations mobilize against fossil fuel companies? We revisit social movement theory and environmental literature to identify three factors that may plausibly shape mobilization decisions of negatively affected populations—democratic institutions, community perceptions of government shaped by land tenure security, and firm attributes. Democratic institutions afford more opportunities for affected populations to air their grievances through protests than non-democratic ones. Land tenure security guaranteed by government contributes to the perception among affected populations that their objectives are better achieved through government mediation than protests. Characteristics of fossil fuel firms, such as state ownership, also shape activist perceptions of government credibility as a mediator. By analyzing fifty-seven countries over the period 1990 to 2013, we find that democracy and state ownership of fossil fuel firms are positively associated with protests, whereas land tenure security is negatively associated.

Keywords: conflict, democratic institutions, political economy, resource extraction

JEL Classification: Q24, Q34, Q35, Q38, Q48, Q52

Suggested Citation

Cheon, Andrew and Kang, Shi-Teng and Ramachandran, Swetha, Determinants of Environmental Conflict: When Do Communities Mobilize Against Fossil Fuel Production? (February 12, 2021). Journal of Conflict Resolution, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3802720

Andrew Cheon (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins SAIS ( email )

1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
737
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Shi-Teng Kang

The Nature Conservancy ( email )

Arlington, VA 22203-1637
United States

Swetha Ramachandran

Graduate Institute for International Studies and Development ( email )

Geneve, 1202
Switzerland

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