IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/del/abcdef/2003-33.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Politcal Foundations of the Resource Curse

Author

Listed:
  • James A. Robinson
  • Ragnar Torvik
  • Thierry Verdier

Abstract

In this paper we argue that the political incentives that resource endowments generate are the key to understanding whether or not they are a curse. We show: (1) politicians tend to over-extract natural resources relative to the efficient extraction path because they discount the future too much. (2) resource booms "improve" the efficiency of the extraction path. However, (3), resource booms, by raising the value of being in power and by providing politicians with more resources which they can use to influence the outcome of elections, "increase" resource misallocation in the rest of the economy. (4), the overall impact of resource booms on the economy depends critically on institutions since these determine the extent to which political incentives map into policy outcomes. Countries with good institutions tend to benefit from resource booms since these institutions mitigate the perverse political incentives that such booms create. Countries with bad institutions suffer a "resource curse".

Suggested Citation

  • James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Politcal Foundations of the Resource Curse," DELTA Working Papers 2003-33, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2003-33
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.delta.ens.fr/abstracts/wp200333.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Torvik, Ragnar, 2002. "Natural resources, rent seeking and welfare," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 455-470, April.
    2. Anne D. Boschini & Jan Pettersson & Jesper Roine, 2007. "Resource Curse or Not: A Question of Appropriability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(3), pages 593-617, September.
    3. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Institutions and the Resource Curse," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 1-20, January.
    4. M. Mufakharul Islam, 1986. "Discussion," The Indian Economic & Social History Review, , vol. 23(2), pages 217-226, June.
    5. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar & Verdier, Thierry, 2006. "Political foundations of the resource curse," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 447-468, April.
    6. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 219-241, September.
    7. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Papers 517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
    8. Bates, Robert H & Collier, Paul, 1995. "The Politics and Economics of Policy Reform in Zambia," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 4(1), pages 115-143, May.
    9. Rauch, James E. & Evans, Peter B., 2000. "Bureaucratic structure and bureaucratic performance in less developed countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 49-71, January.
    10. Lal, Deepak & Myint, H., 1998. "The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity and Growth: A Comparative Study," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198294320.
    11. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-156, March.
    12. Torvik, Ragnar, 2001. "Learning by doing and the Dutch disease," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 285-306, February.
    13. Gelb, A & Knight, John B & Sabot, R H, 1991. "Public Sector Employment, Rent Seeking and Economic Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1186-1199, September.
    14. Acemoglu, Daron, 2003. "Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 620-652, December.
    15. Claudio Bravo-Ortega & Jose De Gregorio, 2002. "The Relative Richness of the Poor? Natural Resources, Human Capital and Economic Growth," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 139, Central Bank of Chile.
    16. 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.
    17. James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2013. "The Political Economy of Clientelism," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 260-291, April.
    18. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1999. "The big push, natural resource booms and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-76, June.
    19. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar, 2005. "White elephants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 197-210, February.
    20. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2002. "An African Success Story: Botswana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 2001. "Natural resources, education, and economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 847-859, May.
    22. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
    23. Jonathan Isham & Michael Woolcock & Lant Pritchett & Gwen Busby, 2003. "The Varieties of Resource Experience: How Natural Resource Export Structures Affect the Political Economy of Economic Growth," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0308, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    24. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1995. "Institutions and Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Indicators," MPRA Paper 23118, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    25. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A., 2001. "Inefficient Redistribution," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 95(3), pages 649-661, September.
    26. Baland, Jean-Marie & Francois, Patrick, 2000. "Rent-seeking and resource booms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 527-542, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
    2. Brunnschweiler, Christa N., 2008. "Cursing the Blessings? Natural Resource Abundance, Institutions, and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 399-419, March.
    3. Collier, Paul & Goderis, Benedikt, 2012. "Commodity prices and growth: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1241-1260.
    4. Dauvin, Magali & Guerreiro, David, 2017. "The Paradox of Plenty: A Meta-Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 212-231.
    5. Dauvin, Magali & Guerreiro, David, 2017. "The Paradox of Plenty: A Meta-Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 212-231.
    6. Kaznacheev, Peter, 2013. "Resource Rents and Economic Growth: Economic and institutional development in countries with a high share of income from the sale of natural resources. Analysis and recommendations based on internatio," EconStor Research Reports 121950, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    7. Costantini, Valeria & Monni, Salvatore, 2008. "Environment, human development and economic growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 867-880, February.
    8. Bulte, Erwin H & Damania, Richard & Deacon, Robert, 2003. "Resource Abundance, Poverty and Development," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt66z854gv, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    9. Rabah Arezki & Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Do Natural Resources Depress Income Per Capita?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 504-521, August.
    10. Dauvin, Magali & Guerreiro, David, 2017. "The Paradox of Plenty: A Meta-Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 212-231.
    11. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Cursed by Resources or Institutions?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 1117-1131, August.
    12. Andersen, Jørgen Juel & Aslaksen, Silje, 2008. "Constitutions and the resource curse," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 227-246, October.
    13. Brückner, Markus, 2010. "Natural resource dependence, non-tradables, and economic growth," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 461-471, December.
    14. Kolstad, Ivar & Søreide, Tina, 2009. "Corruption in natural resource management: Implications for policy makers," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 214-226, December.
    15. Mohsen Mehrara, Mohsen & Alhosseini, Seyedmohammadsadegh & Bahramirad, Duman, 2008. "Resource curse and institutional quality in oil countries," MPRA Paper 16456, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2009.
    16. Dong-Hyeon Kim & Shu-Chin Lin, 2017. "Natural Resources and Economic Development: New Panel Evidence," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 66(2), pages 363-391, February.
    17. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, 2014. "Can Oil-Rich Countries Encourage Entrepreneurship? ‘Yes’, ‘No’ but not ‘Perhaps’," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201406, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    18. Waqar Ahmed Wadho, 2014. "Education, Rent seeking and the Curse of Natural Resources," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 128-156, March.
    19. Matsen, Egil & Roisland, Oistein, 2005. "Interest rate decisions in an asymmetric monetary union," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 365-384, June.
    20. Kolstad, Ivar & Wiig, Arne, 2009. "It's the rents, stupid! The political economy of the resource curse," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5317-5325, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2003-33. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/deltafr.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.