Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2011 Anum Malkani
The natural resource curse paradox has given rise to a wide range of explanations, which look at the economic, social and political characteristics of resource-rich countries. This paper focuses on the political economy of natural resources and finds that controlling for sociopolitical factors eliminates the natural resource curse. The analysis then turns to these sociopolitical factors and examines the significant, complex and varied effects of democratization on economic growth in general, as well as in resource-rich countries in particular. I conclude that the type of institutions needed for economic development in resource-rich countries are not specific to either democratic or autocratic systems, but are equally likely to be adopted by either regime, so that no one ideology is more suitable than the other. A corollary to this, however, is the case
of weak democracies or low democratization levels. Such states are unable to adopt the necessary strategies and institutions and, thus, pose the greatest threat to economic growth in resource-rich countries. On the other hand, highly autocratic systems in resource-rich countries, such as those in Bahrain and UAE, or perfectly democratic systems, such as those in Norway and Iceland, utilize resources more efficiently for economic development.
Malkani, Anum, "From Riches to Rags: The Political Economy of the Natural Resource Curse" (2011). CMC Senior Theses. Paper 142.