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

Listed author(s):
  • Mehrdad Vahabi

    ()

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

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.

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Paper provided by Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord in its series CEPN Working Papers with number 2017-17.

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Date of creation: Sep 2017
Handle: RePEc:upn:wpaper:2017-17
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  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.
  3. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2011. "Appropriation, violent enforcement, and transaction costs: a critical survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 227-253, April.
  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, December.
  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.
  11. Coase, R H, 1974. "The Lighthouse in Economics," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 357-376, October.
  12. Vahabi, Mehrdad, 2006. "Ordres contradictoires et coordination destructive: le malaise iranien
    [Contradictory orders and detructive coordination: the Iranian disease]
    ," MPRA Paper 13235, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Sep 2008.
  13. Vahabi,Mehrdad, 2015. "The Political Economy of Predation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107133976, December.
  14. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  15. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:03:p:567-576_10 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Maxime Desmarais-Tremblay, 2014. "On the Definition of Public Goods. Assessing Richard A. Musgrave's contribution," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00951577, HAL.
  17. Esfahani, H.S. & Pesaran, M.H., 2008. "Iranian Economy in the Twentieth Century: A Global Perspective," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0815, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  18. Hadi Salehi Esfahani & M. Hashem Pesaran, 2008. "Iranian Economy in Twentieth Century: A Global Perspective," Working Papers 452, Economic Research Forum, revised 09 Jan 2008.
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