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Does Information Break the Political Resource Curse? Experimental Evidence from Mozambique

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  • Alex Armand, Alexander Coutts, Pedro C. Vicente,IneÌ‚s Vilela

Abstract

The political resource curse is the idea that natural resources can lead to the deterioration of public policies through corruption and rent-seeking by those closest to political power. One prominent consequence is the emergence of conflict. This paper takes this theory to the data for the case of Mozambique, where a substantial discovery of natural gas recently took place. Focusing on the anticipation of a resource boom and the behavior of local political structures and communities, a large-scale field experiment was designed and implemented to follow the dissemination of information about the newly-discovered resources. Two types of treatments provided variation in the degree of dissemination: one with information targeting only local political leaders, the other with information and deliberation activities targeting communities at large. A wide variety of theory-driven outcomes is measured through surveys, behavioral activities, lab-in-the-field experiments, and georeferenced administrative data about local con- flict. Information given only to leaders increases elite capture and rent-seeking, while infor- mation and deliberation targeted at citizens increases mobilization and accountability-related outcomes, and decreases violence. While the political resource curse is likely to be in play, the dissemination of information to communities at large has a countervailing effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Armand, Alexander Coutts, Pedro C. Vicente,IneÌ‚s Vilela, 2019. "Does Information Break the Political Resource Curse? Experimental Evidence from Mozambique," NCID Working Papers 01/2019, Navarra Center for International Development, University of Navarra.
  • Handle: RePEc:nva:unnvaa:wp01-2019
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    File URL: http://ncid.unav.edu/en/research/working-papers/wp012019
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Custodio & Bernardo Mendes & Diogo Mendes, 2021. "Firm responses to violent conflicts," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2106, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    2. Pedro C. Vicente & Ines Vilela, 2020. "Preventing violent Islamic radicalization: experimental evidence on anti-social behavior," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2008, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    3. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Fjeldstad, Odd-Helge & Mmari, Donald & Sjursen, Ingrid Hoem & Tungodden, Bertil, 2021. "Understanding the resource curse: A large-scale experiment on corruption in Tanzania," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 129-157.
    4. Victoire Girard & Nicolas Berman & Mathieu Couttenier, 2020. "Natural resources and the salience of ethnic identities," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2007, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural Resources; Curse; Natural Gas; Information; Deliberation; Rent-seeking; Mozambique.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • 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
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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