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Abstract

The development of large-scale infrastructure, including electricity generation projects (EGPs) like hydroelectric dams, often displaces entire local communities with little retribution for the loss of homes or livelihoods. While these projects are portrayed as beneficial to the state overall, in some cases, the resulting displacement can exacerbate grievances and intensify conflict in the areas surrounding them. But why does the construction of certain EGPs result in violent conflict, while others result in lower intensity conflicts (e.g., protests), and some produce no conflict at all? Through a small-N case study analysis of four EGPs in Sub- Saharan Africa, this article will explore this localized relationship between EGPs and conflict in the surrounding area and probe the two proposed causal mechanisms, physical and economic displacement, which may be driving this relationship.

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