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Foreign agents? Natural resources & the political economy of civil society

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  • Breyel, Corinna
  • Grigoriadis, Theocharis

Abstract

Resource-rich dictatorships are more inclined to repress civil society than others. In this paper, we identify a tradeoff between political rents from natural resources and the organizational density of civil society. This organizational density determines the extent to which citizens can threaten the dictator with a revolution. We find that, in the occurrence of a negative oil price shock, regime change becomes likely, whereas a positive oil shock increases the extractive capacity of the dictator. When a negative oil price shock occurs, the persecution of failed revolutionaries can prevent revolution if the probability of revolutionary success is already low ex-ante. Historical and contemporary illustrations are drawn from Iran, the Soviet Union/Russia and Egypt.

Suggested Citation

  • Breyel, Corinna & Grigoriadis, Theocharis, 2016. "Foreign agents? Natural resources & the political economy of civil society," Discussion Papers 2016/18, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201618
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    natural resources; dictatorship; civil society; organizational density; persecution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts

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