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More Oil, Less Democracy: Evidence from Worldwide Crude Oil Discoveries

  • Kevin K. Tsui

This article exploits variations in the timing and size of oil discoveries to identify the impact of oil wealth on democracy. I find that discovering 100 billion barrels of oil (approximately the initial endowment of Iraq) pushes a country's democracy level almost 20 percentage points below trend after three decades. The estimated effect is larger for oilfields with higher-quality oil and lower exploration and extraction costs. However, the estimates become less precise when oil abundance is measured by oil discovery per capita, suggesting politicians may care about the level instead of the per capita value of oil wealth.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2009.02327.x
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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 121 (2011)
Issue (Month): 551 (March)
Pages: 89-115

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:551:p:89-115
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  1. David, Paul A & Wright, Gavin, 1997. "Increasing Returns and the Genesis of American Resource Abundance," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 203-45, March.
  2. Dan Black & Terra McKinnish & Seth Sanders, 2005. "The Economic Impact Of The Coal Boom And Bust," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 449-476, 04.
  3. Anca Cotet & Kevin K. Tsui, 2010. "Resource Curse or Malthusian Trap? Evidence from Oil Discoveries and Extractions," Working Papers 201001, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2010.
  4. Hodler, Roland, 2006. "The curse of natural resources in fractionalized countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1367-1386, August.
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  7. Robert T. Deacon & Henning Bohn, 2000. "Ownership Risk, Investment, and the Use of Natural Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 526-549, June.
  8. Miller, Merton H & Upton, Charles W, 1985. "A Test of the Hotelling Valuation Principle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 1-25, February.
  9. Oded Galor & Omar Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2006. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_001, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  10. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766, March.
  11. Beck, Thorsten & Laeven, Luc, 2005. "Institution building and growth in transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3657, The World Bank.
  12. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S158-S183, December.
  13. Michael Alexeev & Robert Conrad, 2009. "The Elusive Curse of Oil," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 586-598, August.
  14. Besley, Timothy J. & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making Autocracy Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 6371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Casey B. Mulligan & Kevin K. Tsui, 2008. "Political Entry, Public Policies, and the Economy," NBER Working Papers 13830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Christa N. Brunnschweiler & Erwin H. Bulte, 2006. "The Resource Curse Revisited and Revised: A Tale of Paradoxes and Red Herrings," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 06/61, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  18. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4295080 is not listed on IDEAS
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