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Institutions and the Resource Curse

  • Halvor Mehlum
  • Karl Moene
  • Ragnar Torvik

Countries rich in natural resources constitute both growth losers and growth winners. We claim that the main reason for these diverging experiences is differences in the quality of institutions. More natural resources push aggregate income down, when institutions are grabber friendly, while more resources raise income, when institutions are producer friendly. We test this theory building on Sachs and Warner's influential works on the resource curse. Our main hypothesis - that institutions are decisive for the resource curse - is confirmed. Our results contrast the claims of Sachs and Warner that institutions do not play a role. Copyright 2006 Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 116 (2006)
Issue (Month): 508 (01)
Pages: 1-20

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:508:p:1-20
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  1. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1996. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Papers 545, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  2. Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Scholarly Articles 3606235, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Lane, Philip R & Tornell, Aaron, 1996. " Power, Growth, and the Voracity Effect," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 213-41, June.
  4. Stijns, Jean-Philippe C., 2005. "Natural resource abundance and economic growth revisited," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 107-130, June.
  5. Skaperdas, Stergios, 2001. "Warlord Competition," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Lane, Frederic C., 1958. "Economic Consequences of Organized Violence," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 401-417, December.
  7. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
  8. Torvik, Ragnar, 2001. "Learning by doing and the Dutch disease," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 285-306, February.
  9. Torvik, Ragnar, 2002. "Natural resources, rent seeking and welfare," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 455-470, April.
  10. Baland, Jean-Marie & Francois, Patrick, 2000. "Rent-seeking and resource booms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 527-542, April.
  11. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  13. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
  14. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  15. Gylfason, Thorvaldur & Herbertsson, Tryggvi Thor & Zoega, Gylfi, 1997. "A Mixed Blessing: Natural Resources and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2002. "An African Success Story: Botswana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Gylfason, Thorvaldur & Herbertsson, Tryggvi Thor & Zoega, Gylfi, 1999. "A Mixed Blessing," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 204-225, June.
  18. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. repec:cup:macdyn:v:3:y:1999:i:2:p:204-25 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
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