The thesis explores the resource scarcity and conflict nexus, with emphasis on migration. This focus spurs associations of the ‘environmental refugee’ debate, however, especially given the significant challenges of quantifying this group, the attention in this study is given to refugees, recognised in the traditional sense of the word. The theoretical backdrop of the thesis is inspired by the works of Thomas Malthus and Thomas Homer-Dixon. The Malthusian perspective assumes an unsustainability of population growth and resource production. This entails that, given the increase in population that is far exceeds the increase in production of food, civil strife will necessarily follow. Environmental depletion is predicted to further hurry this process. Homer-Dixon argues that scarcity of renewable resources, is a fundamental concern, and considers this to be a primary facilitator for conflict. Aid is assumed to have a mediating effect on conflict, and this is investigated in conjunction with the migration and scarcity elements.
The thesis examines these theoretical arguments in a quantitative large-N study, using data with a global coverage. It explores the likelihood of both conventional and non-state conflict, given added migration pressure in a context of renewable resource scarcity. The empirical evidence proposes a significant positive influence of migration pressure on conventional conflict, a decline in non-state conflict in a resource scarce setting, and an apparent absence of a mediating effect of aid.