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The Rise and Fall Of The Resource Curse

Government and Institutions

A substantial political economy literature claims that an abundance of natural resource wealth—most particularly crude oil—creates and perpetuates authoritarian regimes. Improvements in statistical techniques and data generation over the past decade have allowed scholars to evaluate that claim. That new literature finds that the evidence is inconsistent with law-like statements about the effect of crude oil abundance on authoritarianism. The rise and fall of the resource curse hypothesis may therefore be instructive as scholars advance and test other theories about the distribution of authoritarianism and democracy around the planet. Specifically, it suggests the importance of taking history seriously both in the testing of theories and in their development.

wp2057.pdf (2.97 MB)
Stephen Haber
Publication Date
January, 2024