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The Curse of Natural Resources


  • Katharina Wick
  • Erwin Bulte

    () (Department of Economics, Tilburg University, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
    Development Economics Group, Wageningen University, 6700 EW Wageningen, Netherlands; Oxford Center for the Analysis of Resource-Rich Economies (OxCarre), Oxford, OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)


A large literature has developed that documents a negative association between the presence of natural resources and economic development. In this paper we explore the empirics and theories of the so-called resource curse and try to assess its robustness. We conclude that there are many open questions and that the case of the curse needs revision and nuance.

Suggested Citation

  • Katharina Wick & Erwin Bulte, 2009. "The Curse of Natural Resources," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 139-156, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:1:y:2009:p:139-156

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles Mason & Andrew Plantinga, 2011. "Contracting for Impure Public Goods: Carbon Offsets and Additionality," NBER Working Papers 16963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lyubov Kurkalova & Catherine Kling & Jinhua Zhao, 2006. "Green Subsidies in Agriculture: Estimating the Adoption Costs of Conservation Tillage from Observed Behavior," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 54(2), pages 247-267, June.
    3. Harrison Fell & Dallas Burtraw & Richard Morgenstern & Karen Palmer, 2012. "Climate Policy Design with Correlated Uncertainties in Offset Supply and Abatement Cost," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 88(3), pages 589-611.
    4. Michael Grubb & Tim Laing & Thomas Counsell & Catherine Willan, 2011. "Global carbon mechanisms: lessons and implications," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(3), pages 539-573, February.
    5. Feng, Hongli, 2005. "The dynamics of carbon sequestration and alternative carbon accounting, with an application to the upper Mississippi River Basin," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 23-35, July.
    6. Hongli Feng, 2005. "Dynamics of Carbon Sequestration and Alternative Carbon Accounting, with an Application to the Upper Mississippi River Basin, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 05-wp386, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    7. Woodward, Richard T., 2011. "Double-dipping in environmental markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 153-169, March.
    8. Antle, John & Capalbo, Susan & Mooney, Sian & Elliott, Edward & Paustian, Keith, 2003. "Spatial heterogeneity, contract design, and the efficiency of carbon sequestration policies for agriculture," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 231-250, September.
    9. James B. Bushnell, 2011. "The Economics of Carbon Offsets," NBER Chapters,in: The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy, pages 197-209 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Hongli Feng & Lyubov A. Kurkalova & Catherine L. Kling & Philip W. Gassman, 2005. "Economic and Environmental Co-benefits of Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Soils: Retiring Agricultural Land in the Upper Mississippi River Basin," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 05-wp384, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    11. Joseph E. Aldy & Alan J. Krupnick & Richard G. Newell & Ian W. H. Parry & William A. Pizer, 2010. "Designing Climate Mitigation Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 903-934, December.
    12. Schneider, Uwe A. & Kumar, Pushpam, 2008. "Greenhouse Gas Mitigation through Agriculture," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 23(1).
    13. Lyubov Kurkalova & Catherine Kling & Jinhua Zhao, 2004. "Value of agricultural non-point source pollution measurement technology: assessment from a policy perspective," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(20), pages 2287-2298.
    14. Elbakidze, Levan & McCarl, Bruce A., 2004. "Should We Consider the Co-Benefits of Agricultural GHG Offsets?," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 19(3).
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    Cited by:

    1. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2017. "A critical survey of the resource curse literature through the appropriability lens," CEPN Working Papers 2017-14, Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord.
    2. Rutledge, Emilie, 2014. "The Rentier State/Resource Curse narrative and the state of the Arabian Gulf," MPRA Paper 59501, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Blanco, Luisa & Grier, Robin, 2012. "Natural resource dependence and the accumulation of physical and human capital in Latin America," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 281-295.
    4. El Anshasy, Amany A. & Katsaiti, Marina-Selini, 2013. "Natural resources and fiscal performance: Does good governance matter?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 285-298.
    5. Ackah-Baidoo, Abigail, 2012. "Enclave development and ‘offshore corporate social responsibility’: Implications for oil-rich sub-Saharan Africa," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 152-159.
    6. Colin A. Carter & Gordon C. Rausser & Aaron Smith, 2011. "Commodity Booms and Busts," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 87-118, October.
    7. Elbra, Ainsley D., 2013. "The forgotten resource curse: South Africa's poor experience with mineral extraction," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 549-557.
    8. repec:pje:journl:article15sumi is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Astghik Mavisakalyan & Yashar Tarverdi, 2017. "Oil and Women: A Re-examination," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1706, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    10. Brock Smith, 2016. "The Resource Curse Exorcised: Evidence from a Panel of Countries," OxCarre Working Papers 165, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    11. Liu, Yaobin, 2014. "Is the natural resource production a blessing or curse for China's urbanization? Evidence from a space–time panel data model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 404-416.
    12. Norkus Zenonas, 2015. "Catching Up And Falling Behind: Four Puzzles After Two Decades Of Post-Communist Transformation / Doganianie Czy Pozostawanie w Tyle: Cztery Zagadki Po Dwóch Dekadach Transformacji Postkomunistycznej," Comparative Economic Research, De Gruyter Open, vol. 18(4), pages 63-79, December.
    13. Yaobin Liu, 2013. "Energy Production and Regional Economic Growth in China: A More Comprehensive Analysis Using a Panel Model," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(3), pages 1-12, March.
    14. Andreas Leibbrandt & John Lynham, 2017. "Does the Paradox of Plenty Exist? Experimental Evidence on the Curse of Resource Abundance," Monash Economics Working Papers 03-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    15. Edwards, Ryan B., 2016. "Mining away the Preston curve," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 22-36.

    More about this item


    institutions; resources and conflict; resources and economic performance;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts


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