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Democracy and the curse of natural resources

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  • Antonio Cabrales
  • Esther Hauk

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 317.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:317

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

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  1. Simeon Djankov & José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "The curse of aid," Economics Working Papers 870, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (Bace) Approach," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 266, OECD Publishing.
  3. Olsson, Ola, 2003. "Conflict Diamonds," Working Papers in Economics 86, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 30 Nov 2003.
  4. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Albert Marcet & Eva Ventura, 1995. "Supply side interventions and redistribution," Economics Working Papers 115, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Egorov, Georgy & Guriev, Sergei & Sonin, Konstantin, 2006. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives and the Resource Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 5748, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 2000. "Natural Resources, Education, and Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 2594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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