Elise Must

London School of Economics and Political Science

Elise Must

When Does Inequality Cause Conflict? The Role of Perceptions

With a few notable exceptions, natural resource rich countries struggle to achieve growth and to avoid institutional failure and conflict. As an emerging gas producer, Tanzania faces the challenge of staying peaceful while growing richer. The country stands out as remarkably politically stable on a continent plagued by political violence. However, following the recent gas discoveries outside the coastlines of the southern regions of Mtwara and Lindi, there are signs of unrest.

This project proposes to conduct a study in these regions aiming to improve the understanding of the mechanisms feeding unrest at this stage, and consequently to suggest measures to prevent any escalation. Taking as a point of departure the role of group inequalities in inducing conflict, and particularly how subjective rather than objective inequality is crucial in mobilization, the project will also feed into the broader debate on when and how structural inequalities lead to conflict. This latter aspect will also be investigated through cross-country analyses of existing survey data.