IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iis/dispap/iiisdp327.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Illusory Leader: Natural Resources, Taxation and Accountability

Author

Listed:
  • Eoin F. McGuirk

    () (Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin)

  • Eoin F. McGuirk

Abstract

This paper proposes and tests a mechanism through which the natural resource curse can operate. I posit that, in the presence of high natural resource rents, leaders lower the burden of taxation on citizens in order to reduce the demand for democratic accountability. The theory is tested using micro-level data from public opinion surveys across 15 sub-Saharan countries, in addition to country-level data on natural resource rents, taxation and election proximity. It is found that an increase in natural resource rents decreases perceived tax enforcement, which in turn reduces the demand for regular, open and honest elections. Results are robust to alternative specifications. A supplementary analysis reveals that, consistent with the two-period model proposed, the effects are more acute closer to national elections. The findings support political-economy explanations of how natural resources affect economies, in which resource rents are purported to influence the decisions of the political elite through increased returns to staying in power.

Suggested Citation

  • Eoin F. McGuirk & Eoin F. McGuirk, 2010. "The Illusory Leader: Natural Resources, Taxation and Accountability," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp327, IIIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp327
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tcd.ie/iiis/documents/discussion/pdfs/iiisdp327.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Institutions and the Resource Curse," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 1-20, January.
    2. Bhattacharyya, Sambit & Hodler, Roland, 2010. "Natural resources, democracy and corruption," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 608-621, May.
    3. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini & Roberto Perotti & Guido Tabellini, 2013. "The Political Resource Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1759-1796, August.
    4. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Poelhekke, Steven, 2010. "The pungent smell of "red herrings": Subsoil assets, rents, volatility and the resource curse," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 44-55, July.
    5. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
    6. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2009. "Testing the neocon agenda: Democracy in resource-rich societies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 293-308, April.
    7. Silje Aslaksen, 2010. "Oil and democracy: More than a cross-country correlation?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(4), pages 421-431, July.
    8. Vicente, Pedro C., 2010. "Does oil corrupt? Evidence from a natural experiment in West Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 28-38, May.
    9. Kevin K. Tsui, 2011. "More Oil, Less Democracy: Evidence from Worldwide Crude Oil Discoveries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 89-115, March.
    10. 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.
    11. Collier, Paul, 2006. "Is Aid Oil? An Analysis Of Whether Africa Can Absorb More Aid," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1482-1497, September.
    12. 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.
    13. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 2003. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 293-340, October.
    14. Brückner, Markus, 2010. "Natural resource dependence, non-tradables, and economic growth," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 461-471, December.
    15. Bornhorst, Fabian & Gupta, Sanjeev & Thornton, John, 2009. "Natural resource endowments and the domestic revenue effort," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 439-446, December.
    16. Corden, W Max & Neary, J Peter, 1982. "Booming Sector and De-Industrialisation in a Small Open Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 825-848, December.
    17. Torvik, Ragnar, 2002. "Natural resources, rent seeking and welfare," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 455-470, April.
    18. Anca M. Cotet & Kevin K. Tsui, 2013. "Oil and Conflict: What Does the Cross Country Evidence Really Show?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 49-80, January.
    19. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 158-183, December.
    20. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    21. 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.
    22. Francesco Caselli & Tom Cunningham, 2009. "Leader behaviour and the natural resource curse," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 628-650, October.
    23. Antonio Cabrales & Esther Hauk, 2011. "The Quality of Political Institutions and the Curse of Natural Resources," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 58-88, March.
    24. Caselli, Francesco & Cunningham, Tom, 2009. "Leader behavior and the natural resource curse," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25430, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    25. Morrison, Kevin M., 2009. "Oil, Nontax Revenue, and the Redistributional Foundations of Regime Stability," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(01), pages 107-138, January.
    26. repec:cup:apsrev:v:103:y:2009:i:04:p:645-668_99 is not listed on IDEAS
    27. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
    28. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Le, Tuan Minh & Raballand, Gael, 2010. "Increasing public expenditure efficiency in oil-rich economies : a proposal," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5287, The World Bank.
    29. Block, Steven A., 2002. "Political business cycles, democratization, and economic reform: the case of Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 205-228, February.
    30. Kevin K. Tsui, 2010. "Resource Curse, Political Entry, And Deadweight Costs," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 471-497, November.
    31. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
    32. Paivi Lujala, 2010. "The spoils of nature: Armed civil conflict and rebel access to natural resources," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(1), pages 15-28, January.
    33. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2017. "A critical survey of the resource curse literature through the appropriability lens," CEPN Working Papers 2017-14, Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord.
    2. Crivelli, Ernesto & Gupta, Sanjeev, 2014. "Resource blessing, revenue curse? Domestic revenue effort in resource-rich countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 88-101.
    3. repec:spr:jknowl:v:8:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13132-016-0355-y is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Laura El-Katiri, 2014. "The Guardian State and its Economic Development Model," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(1), pages 22-34, January.
    5. Pedro L. Rodríguez, José R. Morales, Fancisco J. Monaldi, 2012. "Direct Distribution of Oil Revenues in Venezuela: A Viable Alternative?," Working Papers 306, Center for Global Development.
    6. Jones, Sam & Tarp, Finn, 2016. "Does foreign aid harm political institutions?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 266-281.
    7. Lisa CHAUVET & Marin FERRY, 2016. "Taxation, infrastructure, and firm performance in developing countries," Working Papers 3510, FERDI.
    8. Alexander James, 2015. "US State Fiscal Policy and Natural Resources," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 238-57, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Democracy; Political Economy; Natural Resources; Curses; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

    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:iis:dispap:iiisdp327. 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: (Colette Keleher). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cetcdie.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.