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A Resource Belief-Curse? Oil and Individualism

Author

Listed:
  • Rafael Di Tella
  • Juan Dubra
  • Robert MacCulloch

Abstract

We study the correlation between a belief concerning individualism and a measure of luck in the US during the period 1983-2004. The measure of beliefs is the answer to a question related to whether the poor should be helped by the government or if they should help themselves, while the measure of luck is the share of the oil industry in the state's economy multiplied by the price of oil. The correlation is negative, suggesting that more reliance on luck is correlated with less individualism. We provide three short models that help interpret this correlation. One implication of this finding is that societies that depend heavily on oil, and perhaps natural resources more generally, will experience a heavier demand for government intervention. We argue that if a government cares about the impact of its natural resource policies on the demand of government intervention more generally, it should take this effect into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra & Robert MacCulloch, 2008. "A Resource Belief-Curse? Oil and Individualism," NBER Working Papers 14556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14556
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    2. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    3. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
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    5. Eduardo Lora & Mauricio Olivera, 2005. "The Electoral Consequences of the Washington Consensus," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 1-61, January.
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    7. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2009. "Why Doesn't Capitalism Flow to Poor Countries?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 285-332.
    8. Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiant & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2007. "The Formation of Beliefs: Evidence from the Allocation of Land Titles to Squatters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 209-241.
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    11. Di Tella, Rafael & Dubra, Juan, 2008. "Crime and punishment in the "American Dream"," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1564-1584, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2010. "Peronist Beliefs and Interventionist Policies," NBER Working Papers 16621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Paola Giuliano & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2009. "Growing Up in a Recession: Beliefs and the Macroeconomy," NBER Working Papers 15321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Couttenier, Mathieu & Sangnier, Marc, 2015. "Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral resources and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 243-256.
    4. Samuel Bazzi & Martin Fiszbein & Mesay Gebresilasse, 2017. "Frontier Culture: The Roots and Persistence of “Rugged Individualism†in the United States," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2018-004, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    5. Couttenier, Mathieu & Sangnier, Marc, 2015. "Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral resources and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 243-256.
    6. Bazzi, Samuel & Fiszbein, Martin & Gebresilasse, Mesay, 2017. "Frontier Culture: The Roots and Persistence of Rugged Individualism in the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 12406, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2013. "Fairness and Redistribution, a comment," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1302, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    8. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2010. "A note on Fairness and Redistribution," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-059, Harvard Business School.
    9. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2009. "Why Doesn't Capitalism Flow to Poor Countries?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 285-332.
    10. John Hatfield & Fuhito Kojima & Yusuke Narita, 2012. "Promoting School Competition Through School Choice: A Market Design Approach," Discussion Papers 12-019, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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