We empirically investigate the role of natural resources, and governance in explaining variation in the intensity of conflict during the 1991–2002 civil war in Sierra Leone. As a proxy for governance quality we exploit exogenous variation in political competition at the level of the chieftaincy. As a proxy for resources we use data on the location of pre-war mining sites. Our main result is that neither governance nor resources robustly explains the onset or duration of violence during the civil war in Sierra Leone.
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