Strategic Mass Killings

Recognition Program

Authors: Joan-Maria Esteban, Massimo Morelli and Dominic Rohner

Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 123, 1087-1132, January, 2015

We provide a model of conflict and mass killing decisions to identify the key variables and situations that make mass killings more likely to occur. We predict that mass killings are most likely in countries with large amounts of natural resource rents, polarization, institutional constraints regarding rent sharing, and low productivity of labor. The role of resources such as oil, gas, and diamonds and other key determinants of mass killings is confirmed by our empirical results based on countrylevel as well as ethnic group–level analysis.

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona GSE Working Paper 459
This paper is acknowledged by the Barcelona GSE Research Recognition Program