Population Pressure, Climate Change and Resource Conflicts in the Developing World


Koubi, Vally (2019). “Climate change and conflict.” Annual Review of Political Science 22: 343-360.

Gleditsch, Nils Petter, and Henrik Urdal (2002). “Ecoviolence? Links between population growth, environmental scarcity and violent conflict in Thomas Homer-Dixon’s work.” Journal of International Affairs 56(1): 283-302.

Population, Environment and Conflict

Acemoglu, Daron., Leopoldo Fergusson, and Simon Johnson (2020). “Population and conflict.” The Review of Economic Studies 87(4): 1565–1604.

Homer-Dixon, Thomas F. (1994). “Environmental scarcities and violent conflict: evidence from cases.” International Security 19, no. 1: 5-40.
• Homer-Dixon offers an influential model of population, environment and conflict. See also his books Environment, Scarcity, and Violence, Princeton University Press, 1999 and Ecoviolence, Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.

Kaplan, Robert. (1994). “The Coming Anarchy.” The Atlantic Monthly
• This is an influential but much-criticised journalistic account of population pressure and environmental degradation leading to conflict.
• Kaplan expanded his article into a book, also called The Coming Anarchy, Vintage, 2001.

Urdal, Henrik. (2005). “People vs. Malthus: Population pressure, environmental degradation, and armed conflict revisited.” Journal of Peace Research 42(4): 417-434.

Climate Change and Conflict

Brzoska, Michael, and Christiane Fröhlich (2016). “Climate change, migration and violent conflict: vulnerabilities, pathways and adaptation strategies.” Migration and Development 5(2): 190-210.

Journal of Peace Research, Special Issue on Climate Change and Conflict, Vol. 49, No. 1 (2012).

Matthew, Richard (2012). “Demography, Climate Change, and Conflict,” in Jack A. Goldstone, Eric Kaufmann and Monica Duffy Toft, eds. Political Demography: How Population Changes are Reshaping International Security and National Politics. (Boulder: Paradigm).

Raleigh, Clionadh, and Henrik Urdal (2007). “Climate change, environmental degradation and armed conflict.” Political Geography 26(6): 674-694.

Mach, Katherine J. et al. (2019). ‘Climate as a risk factor for armed conflict,’ Nature (571), pp. 193-7 

Country Case Studies

Ash, Konstantin, & Nick Obradovich (2020). “Climatic stress, internal migration, and Syrian civil war onset.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 64(1): 3-31.

Ostby, Gudrun et al (2011). “Population Pressure, Horizontal Inequality and Political Violence: A Disaggregated Study of Indonesian Provinces, 1990-2003.” Journal of Development Studies 47(3): 377-398.

Percival, Val, and Thomas Homer-Dixon (1996). “Environmental scarcity and violent conflict: The case of Rwanda.” The Journal of Environment & Development 5(3): 270-291.

Urdal, Henrik (2008). “Population, resources, and political violence: A subnational study of India, 1956-2002.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 52(4): 590-617.

Malthus and Modern Malthusians

Ehrlich, Paul R. (1968). The Population Bomb (New York: Ballantine Books).

Emmott, Stephen (2013). 10 Billion (London: Penguin).

Mayhew, Robert J. (2014). Malthus: the life and legacies of an untimely prophet (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Weisman, Alan (2013). Countdown: our last, best hope for a future on Earth? (London and New York: Little, Brown).

Rosling, Hans. 2010. Global population growth, box by box, (TedCannes) 

Conflict Over Water

Bernauer, Thomas, and Tobias Böhmelt (2020). “International conflict and cooperation over freshwater resources.” Nature Sustainability, 3: 350–356.

Dabelko, Geoffrey D. et al (2011). Navigating Peace Initiative: Water Conflict and Cooperation (Washington, DC: Wilson Center)

Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene and Amanda E. Wooden (2010). “Water resources, institutions, & intrastate conflict.” Political Geography 29(8): 444-453.

Lowi, Miriam R. (1995). “Rivers of conflict, rivers of peace.” Journal of International Affairs: 123-144.

Theisen, Ole Magnus, Helge Holtermann, and Halvard Buhaug (2012). “Climate wars? Assessing the claim that drought breeds conflict.” International Security 36(3): 79-106.

Essay Question

• How does population growth and climate change affect violent conflict in the developing world?

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