The Resource Curse

Does energy and mineral wealth hinder development?

  • By:Jennifer Weeks
  • Content Type: Report
  • Publisher: CQ Press
    • Publication year: 2011
    • Online pub date:
  • DOI:


Ever since dozens of countries gained independence after World War II, scholars have been trying to understand why some new countries were able to grow and prosper while others stagnated. One prominent theory, known as the “resource curse” or the “paradox of plenty,” holds that developing nations with valuable oil, gas or mineral reserves are less likely to thrive than their resource-poor neighbors. Proponents say revenues from extractable resources can distort economies, promote corruption and shore up autocratic leaders who waste or steal public money. The resource curse concept is hotly debated, and many analysts see no direct link between mineral wealth and economic growth. But anti-poverty advocates and citizens' groups widely support it and say extractive industries and governments should disclose the amount of ...

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