The resource curse revisited and revised: A tale of paradoxes and red herrings

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We critically evaluate the empirical basis for the so-called resource curse and find that, despite the topic's popularity in economics and political science research, this apparent paradox may be a red herring. The most commonly used measure of “resource abundance” can be more usefully interpreted as a proxy for “resource dependence”—endogenous to underlying structural factors. In multiple estimations that combine resource abundance and dependence, institutional, and constitutional variables, we find that (i) resource abundance, constitutions, and institutions determine resource dependence, (ii) resource dependence does not affect growth, and (iii) resource abundance positively affects growth and institutional quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248–264
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • Natural resource curse
  • Economic growth
  • Growth regressions
  • Political regimes
  • Institutions
  • Constitutions

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