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Oil and Democracy in Russia

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  • Daniel Treisman
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    Abstract

    Russia is often considered a perfect example of the so-called “resource curse”—the argument that natural resource wealth tends to undermine democracy. Given high oil prices, some observers see the country as virtually condemned to authoritarian government for the foreseeable future. Reexamining various data, I show that such fears are exaggerated. Evidence from around the world suggests that for countries like Russia with an established oil industry, even large increases in the scale of mineral incomes have only a minor effect on the political regime. In addition, Russia—a country with an industrialized economy, a highly educated, urbanized population, and an oil sector that remains majority private-owned—is unlikely to be susceptible to most of the hypothesized pernicious effects of resource dependence.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15667.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15667.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2010
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    Publication status: published as Daniel Treisman. "Rethinking Russia : Is Russia Cursed by Oil?" Vol. 63, No. 2, Spring/Summer 2010. Page 85-102
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15667

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "Income and Democracy," NBER Working Papers 11205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sergei Guriev & Anton Kolotilin & Konstantin Sonin, 2011. "Determinants of Nationalization in the Oil Sector: A Theory and Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 301-323.
    3. Roland Beck & Annette Kamps & Elitza Mileva, 2007. "Long-term growth prospects for the Russian economy," Occasional Paper Series 58, European Central Bank.
    4. Suni, Paavo, 2007. "Oil Prices and the Russian Economy. Some Simulation Studies with NiGEM," Discussion Papers 1088, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    5. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
    6. Silje Aslaksen, 2010. "Oil and democracy: More than a cross-country correlation?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(4), pages 421-431, July.
    7. David S. Jacks, Kevin H. O'Rourke and Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2009. "Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp280, IIIS.
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    Cited by:
    1. Libman, Alexander, 2010. "Subnational resource curse: do economic or political institutions matter?," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 154, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    2. Libman, Alexander, 2013. "Natural resources and sub-national economic performance: Does sub-national democracy matter?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 82-99.

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