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Democracy and the curse of natural resources

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Abstract

We propose a theoretical model to explain empirical regularities related to the curse of natural resources. This is an explicitly political model which emphasizes the behavior and incentives of politicians. We extend the standard voting model to give voters political control beyond the elections. This gives rise to a new restriction into our political economy model: policies should not give rise to a revolution. Our model clarifies when resource discoveries might lead to revolutions, namely, in countries with weak institutions. Natural resources may be bad for democracy by harming political turnover. Our model also suggests a non-linear dependence of human capital on natural resources. For low levels of democracy human capital depends negatively on natural resources, while for high levels of democracy the dependence is reversed. This theoretical finding is corroborated in both cross section and panel data regressions.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 709.07.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 20 Jun 2007
Date of revision: 30 Mar 2009
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:709.07

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Keywords: Curse of natural resources; democracy; political game; revolution; human capital.;

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  1. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 2000. "Natural Resources, Education, and Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 2594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Simeon Djankov & José G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "The curse of aid," Working Papers 257, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Georgy Egorov & Sergei Guriev & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," Working Papers w0063, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR), revised Jun 2006.
  4. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," NBER Working Papers 7750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Albert Marcet & Eva Ventura, 2010. "Supply Side Interventions and Redistribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(543), pages 105-130, 03.
  6. Olsson, Ola, 2003. "Conflict Diamonds," Working Papers in Economics 86, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 30 Nov 2003.
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