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Democracy and the curse of natural resources

  • Antonio Cabrales


  • Esther Hauk


We propose a theoretical model to explain empirical regularities related to the curse of natural resources. This is an explicitly political model which emphasizes the behavior and incentives of politicians. We extend the standard voting model to give voters political control beyond the elections. This gives rise to a new restriction into our political economy model: policies should not give rise to a revolution. Our model clarifies when resource discoveries might lead to revolutions, namely, in countries with weak institutions. Natural resources may be bad for democracy by harming political turnover. Our model also suggests a non-linear dependence of human capital on natural resources. For low levels of democracy human capital depends negatively on natural resources, while for high levels of democracy the dependence is reversed. This theoretical finding is corroborated in both cross section and panel data regressions.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we075429.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we075429
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  1. Olsson, Ola, 2003. "Conflict Diamonds," Working Papers in Economics 86, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 30 Nov 2003.
  2. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," NBER Working Papers 7750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Georgy Egorov & Sergei Guriev & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," Working Papers w0063, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR), revised Jun 2006.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Albert Marcet & Eva Ventura, 1995. "Supply side interventions and redistribution," Economics Working Papers 115, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 2001. "Natural resources, education, and economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 847-859, May.
  7. Simeon Djankov & Jose Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2008. "The curse of aid," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 169-194, September.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521671422 is not listed on IDEAS
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