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A Resource Belief-Curse? Oil and Individualism

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  • Rafael Di Tella
  • Juan Dubra
  • Robert MacCulloch

Abstract

We study the correlation between a belief concerning individualism and a measure of luck in the US during the period 1983-2004. The measure of beliefs is the answer to a question related to whether the poor should be helped by the government or if they should help themselves, while the measure of luck is the share of the oil industry in the state's economy multiplied by the price of oil. The correlation is negative, suggesting that more reliance on luck is correlated with less individualism. We provide three short models that help interpret this correlation. One implication of this finding is that societies that depend heavily on oil, and perhaps natural resources more generally, will experience a heavier demand for government intervention. We argue that if a government cares about the impact of its natural resource policies on the demand of government intervention more generally, it should take this effect into account.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14556.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14556

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  1. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," NBER Working Papers 11208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2007. "Why Doesn't Capitalism Flow to Poor Countries?," NBER Working Papers 13164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 6795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Eduardo Lora & Mauricio Olivera, 2005. "The Electoral Consequences of the Washington Consensus," IDB Publications 6691, Inter-American Development Bank.
  5. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  6. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2006. "Minimally acceptable altruism and the ultimatum game," Working Papers 06-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  7. Morgan, John, 2000. "Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 761-84, October.
  8. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Paola Giuliano & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2009. "Growing Up in a Recession: Beliefs and the Macroeconomy," NBER Working Papers 15321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Di Tella, Rafael & Dubra, Juan, 2008. "Crime and punishment in the "American Dream"," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1564-1584, July.
  11. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2000. "Commercial Policy with Altruistic Voters," NBER Working Papers 7984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
  13. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  14. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-80, January.
  15. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  16. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't The US Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1933, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2007. "The Formation of Beliefs: Evidence from the Allocation of Land Titles to Squatters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 209-241, 02.
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Cited by:
  1. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio, 2009. "Growing Up in a Recession: Beliefs and the Macroeconomy," IZA Discussion Papers 4365, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Mathieu Couttenier & Marc Sangnier, 2012. "Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral Resources Foster Individualism," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 12.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  3. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2010. "A note on Fairness and Redistribution," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-059, Harvard Business School.
  4. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2010. "Peronist Beliefs and Interventionist Policies," NBER Working Papers 16621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John Hatfield & Fuhito Kojima & Yusuke Narita, 2012. "Promoting School Competition Through School Choice: A Market Design Approach," Discussion Papers 12-019, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  6. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2004. "Why doesn't Capitalism flow to Poor Countries?," Others 0404005, EconWPA.
  7. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2013. "Fairness and Redistribution: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 549-53, February.

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