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Natural Resources, Democracy and Corruption

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  • Sambit Bhattacharyya
  • Roland Hodler

Abstract

We study how natural resources can feed corruption and how this effect depends on the quality of the democratic institutions. Our game-theoretic model predicts that resource rents lead to an increase in corruption if the quality of the democratic institutions is relatively poor, but not otherwise. We use panel data covering the period 1980 to 2004 and 124 countries to test this theoretical prediction. Our estimates confirm that the relationship between resource rents and corruption depends on the quality of the democratic institutions. Our main results hold when we control for the effects of income, time varying common shocks, regional fixed effects and various additional covariates. They are also robust to the use of various alternative measures of natural resources, corruption and the quality of the democratic institutions,and across different samples. These findings imply that democratization might be a powerful tool to reduce corruption in resource-rich countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford in its series OxCarre Working Papers with number 020.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:020

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Keywords: Natural resources; democracy; political institutions; corruption;

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  1. After Gaddafi, will Libya's 'resource curse' become a blessing?
    by Fabrizio Carmignani, Senior lecturer, School of Economics at University of Queensland in The Conversation on 2011-10-04 19:38:11
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