Research & Publications


1) Natural resources in armed conflicts (“conflict resources”)

The first main research area of Martijn’s work is related to the role of natural resources as a source of funding in armed conflicts. In numerous civil wars, “conflict resources” help the belligerent parties to finance their war efforts (e.g. in the case of “blood diamonds” or minerals from the eastern Congo). In his current main research project GLONEXACO, Martijn looks to what extent the local dynamics of such armed conflicts can be influenced by global economic changes (e.g. prize shocks, sanctions etc.). At Yale, Martijn is an affiliated member of the research group “The Program on Order, Conflict and Violence”, led by Professor Stathis Kalyvas.

2) European Union Foreign Policy

Martijn’s second main research field is the EU’s Foreign Policy. In his work, he is studying the conflict prevention and crisis management policies of the EU with a specific emphasis on its activities with regard to natural resources. Martijn participates in the project EU-IANUS, which looks on the role of the EU as an actor in an unsettled international system, and is member of the Barcelona-based research group “Observatory of European Foreign Policy” (both headed by Professor Esther Barbé).

3) The influence of the EU on support for secessionism in EU Member States 

As a side project, Martijn studies, together with Diego Muro and Guillem Vidal, in the project EU-SCAT the impact of international factors on support for secession in Catalonia and Scotland. Both regions have strong pro-independence movements and the project studies to what extent the voters change their attitudes regarding secession, when confronted with different international scenarios. To this aim, a survey experiment with over 2,400 participants has been conducted in Catalonia and Scotland.






  • “Global Commodity Prices and Local Violence: Evidence from the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo”
  • “The European Union and Natural Resources That Fund Armed Conflicts: Explaining the EU’s Policy Choices”
  • “Does the Prospect of International Recognition Influence Support for Secession? A Survey Experiment in Catalonia and Scotland” (with Diego Muro and Guillem Vidal, currently under revision)