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Coercive state, resisting society, political and economic development in Iran

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  • Mehrdad Vahabi

    () (Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord (CEPN))

Abstract

In my studies, I have explored the political economy of Iran and particularly the relationship between the state and socio-economic development in this country. The importance of the oil revenue in economic development of contemporary Iran has been underlined since the early seventies and a vast literature on the rentier state and authoritarian modernization has scrutinized the specificities of the political and economic natural resource ‘curse’ in Iran. A new critical social history of the oil industry has recently endeavored to reconsider the spread effects of this industry on the emergence of new cities and labor activities. In this sense, the impact of oil revenue on economic development should be mitigated: it has not been only a ‘curse’ but also a ‘blessing’. The precious results of natural resource curse or blessing notwithstanding, this approach is insufficient to explain why some predatory states reliant on natural resources could contribute to economic development while others hinder such development. Two recent examples provide a salient illustration: why did the Shah’s regime which was dependent on oil revenues enhance economic development during 1962-1974, while Ahmadinjead’s two terms presidency (2005-2013) imped economic growth despite the quadrupling of oil revenues? In this essay, I will first introduce my theoretical framework and distinguish two types of predatory states, i.e. inclusive and exclusive (section 1). I will then apply this framework to explain oil and economic development (section 2). Section 3 will be devoted to the Shah’s regime as an inclusive predatory state, and section 4 to Ahmadinjead’s presidency as an illustration of an exclusive predatory state. A short conclusion will follow.

Suggested Citation

  • Mehrdad Vahabi, 2017. "Coercive state, resisting society, political and economic development in Iran," CEPN Working Papers 2017-17, Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord.
  • Handle: RePEc:upn:wpaper:2017-17
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. David Wiens, 2014. "Natural resources and institutional development," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 26(2), pages 197-221, April.
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    4. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
    5. Mohammad A. Chaichian, 2012. "The new phase of globalization and brain drain: Migration of educated and skilled Iranians to the United States," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(1), pages 18-38, January.
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    7. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422.
    8. Lane, Philip R & Tornell, Aaron, 1996. "Power, Growth, and the Voracity Effect," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 213-241, June.
    9. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    10. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2016. "A positive theory of the predatory state," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 153-175, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capital flight; Captive; Intermediary and Fugitive assets; Confiscatory regimes; Inclusive and Exclusive Predatory States; Islamic Republic of Iran; Land Reform; Oil revenues; the Shah regime;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • Q35 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Hydrocarbon Resources

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