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Resource Discovery and the Political Fortunes of National Leaders

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  • Sambit Bhattacharyya
  • Michael Keller

Abstract

We investigate the causal effects of giant and first oil and mineral discoveries on the political fortunes of national leaders using a large dataset of 1255 leaders in 158 countries over the period 1950 to 2010 in single‐risk and multiple‐risk discrete time proportional hazard models. We find that mineral discoveries reduce risk for the incumbent in a single‐risk model especially in a non‐election year. In contrast, oil discoveries reduce risk disproportionately more in countries with weak political institutions. The effects appear to be induced by resource income rather than expectations. In a multiple‐risk model, oil discovery significantly reduces the risk of departure via military coup while resource discovery reduces the risk of resignation. Resource discovery does not seem to affect the risk of election loss. Non‐resource tax and military expenditure appear to be two potent mechanisms through which oil discovery affects political survival.

Suggested Citation

  • Sambit Bhattacharyya & Michael Keller, 2021. "Resource Discovery and the Political Fortunes of National Leaders," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 88(349), pages 129-166, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:88:y:2021:i:349:p:129-166
    DOI: 10.1111/ecca.12350
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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