Education, Rent-seeking and the Curse of Natural Resources
Empirical evidence suggests that natural resources breed corruption and reduce educational attainments, dampening economic growth. The theoretical literature has treated these two channels separately, with natural resources affecting growth either through human capital or corruption. In this paper, we argue that education and corruption are jointly determined and depend on the endowment of natural resources. Natural resources affect the incentives to invest in education and rent seeking that in turn affect growth. Whether natural resources stimulate growth or induce a poverty-trap crucially depends on inequality in access to education and political participation, as well as on the cost of political participation. For lower inequality and higher cost of political participation, a high-growth and a poverty-trap equilibrium co-exist even with abundant natural resources.
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