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Resource rents, power, and political stability

  • Kjetil Bjorvatn


    (Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Mohammad Reza Farzanegan


    (University of Marburg)

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 the effects of income, quality of institutions, time varying common shocks, country fixed effects and various additional covariates

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Paper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series MAGKS Papers on Economics with number 201419.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in
Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201419
Contact details of provider: Postal: Universitätsstraße 25, 35037 Marburg
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  1. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
  2. Amit K. Biswas & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Marcel Thum, 2011. "Pollution, Shadow Economy and Corruption: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 3630, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Amy Poteete, 2009. "Is Development Path Dependent or Political? A Reinterpretation of Mineral-Dependent Development in Botswana," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 544-571.
  4. Bjorvatn Kjetil & Farzanegan Mohammad Reza & Schneider Friedrich, 2013. "Resource Curse and Power Balance: Evidence from Iran," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 133-158, August.
  5. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  6. Fredriksson, Per G. & Svensson, Jakob, 2003. "Political instability, corruption and policy formation: the case of environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1383-1405, August.
  7. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
  8. Jinjarak, Yothin, 2009. "Trade variety and political conflict: Some international evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 26-28, April.
  9. Rabah Arezki & Thorvaldur Gylfason, 2011. "Resource Rents, Democracy and Corruption: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," CESifo Working Paper Series 3575, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. 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.
  11. World Bank, 2012. "World Development Indicators 2012," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6014.
  12. Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza & Schneider, Friedrich, 2012. "Resource Curse and Power Balance: Evidence from Oil-Rich Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1308-1316.
  13. Philippe Le Billon, 2003. "Buying peace or fuelling war: the role of corruption in armed conflicts," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 413-426.
  14. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Christian Lessmann & Gunther Markwardt, 2013. "Natural-Resource Rents and Internal Conflicts - Can Decentralization Lift the Curse?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4180, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Andersen, Jørgen Juel & Aslaksen, Silje, 2013. "Oil and political survival," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 89-106.
  16. Arellano, M, 1987. "Computing Robust Standard Errors for Within-Groups Estimators," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(4), pages 431-34, November.
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