There has been increasing interest in the so-called ‘resource curse’, i.e. the tendency of resource-rich countries to underperform in several development outcomes. This has generated a mountain of (often contradictory) evidence leaving many floundering in the flood of information. The special issue compiles eight papers from some of the most prominent contributors to this literature, combining original research with critical reflection on the current stock of knowledge. The studies collectively emphasize the complexities and conditionalities of the ‘curse’ – its presence/intensity is largely context-specific, depending on the type of resources, socio-political institutions and linkages with the rest of the economy.