22 February 2011

Revolution and the Resource Curse in the Middle East

Chris Blattman quotes Arvind Subramanian (writing in the FT)
Even if the people of Libya and Bahrain join those of Egypt and Tunisia in overcoming their cursed political systems, the economic manifestations of their rent curses will remain.
The case for the resource curse certainly sounds persuasive, but I just don’t think the evidence is really there any more, with more and more recent studies debunking it. As Charles Kenny writes in Foreign Policy,
The curse is the type of counterintuitive idea that makes for a great newspaper op-ed. Nonetheless, the curse is also the kind of counterintuitive idea where intuition may have been right to begin with.
To the extent that it does exist, the curse is not destiny, and movement towards more open societies is the best way of fighting it.

Hold tight Bahrain, hold tight Libya.

UPDATE: I found the link to some of the main research disputing the claims

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