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Resource Rents, Power, and Political Stability


  • Kjetil Bjorvatn
  • Mohammad Reza Farzanegan


We study the association between resource rents and political stability, highlighting the importance of the distribution of political power as a mediating factor. We present a simple theoretical model showing that increased rents are likely to be positively associated with the stability of a powerful incumbent while destabilizing a less powerful incumbent. Our empirical analysis confirms this prediction: Using panel data for more than 120 countries from 1984-2009, our results show that rents can promote political stability, but only when the political power is sufficiently concentrated. Indeed, if the incumbent is sufficiently weak, rents fuel instability. Our main results hold when we control for time varying common shocks, country fixed effects and various additional covariates.

Suggested Citation

  • Kjetil Bjorvatn & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, 2014. "Resource Rents, Power, and Political Stability," CESifo Working Paper Series 4727, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4727

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza & Raeisian Parvari, Mozhgan, 2014. "Iranian-Oil-Free Zone and international oil prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 364-372.
    2. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Stefan Witthuhn, 2014. "Demographic Transition and Political Stability: Does Corruption Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5133, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    resource rent; political power; political stability; conflict;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy


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