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The Institutions Curse
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Book description

The 'resource curse' is the view that countries with extensive natural resources tend to suffer from a host of undesirable outcomes, including the weakening of state capacity, authoritarianism, fewer public goods, war, and economic stagnation. This book debunks this view, arguing that there is an 'institutions curse' rather than a resource curse. Legacies endemic to the developing world have impelled many countries to develop natural resources as a default sector in lieu of cultivating modern and diversified economies, and bad institutions have also condemned nations to suffer from ills unduly attributed to minerals and oil. Victor Menaldo also argues that natural resources can actually play an integral role in stimulating state capacity, capitalism, industrialization, and democracy, even if resources are themselves often a symptom of underdevelopment. Despite being cursed by their institutions, weak states are blessed by their resources: greater oil means more development, both historically and across countries today.


'This book explores the role of natural resources, especially oil, in the development of countries. … A wide geographic area is covered, including but not limited to North America, Europe and the Middle East. … The author argues that political institutions, not resource endowment, are the basis for differences in development. … It adds to the literature on the role of natural resources, institutions, and development. Footnotes and references. … Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.'

J. E. Weaver Source: Choice

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