Graeme Blair bio photo

Assistant Professor
Political Science

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Book Project

On the Geography of Assets and Citizens: How Proximity to Oil Production Shapes Political Order

I propose in this book project that the physical proximity of assets to people often enables local groups to interrupt production and tax collection from those assets through protests, sabotage, and strikes. The state is then forced to bargain with the groups to avoid an interruption to state revenues, and to offer concessions such as a share of revenues derived from local assets. When bargaining fails, violent conflict often results. I test this theory using a multi-method research design based on novel, fine-grained data on the geography of oil exploration and production and civil wars around the world, case evidence from oil production interruptions in Nigeria from 2006 to 2009, and a large original survey of civilians in the Niger Delta oil region in Nigeria on how civilians living near oil fields collaborated with the armed groups to interrupt oil production.