Andreas Heinrich/Heiko Pleines: Resource challenges: Die politische Dimension von Ölbooms


Resource Challenges: Political Dimensions of Oil booms
According to the conventional economic view, countries which possess rich natural resource endowments are considered fortunate. This view is supported by neo-classical economic theory, which contends that countries are best off producing goods in which they have a comparative advantage, be it natural resources or manufactured items. The older literature assumed that a multitude of natural resources would facilitate growth. However, beginning in the late 1980s, empirical studies showed an opposing trend, asserting that an abundance of natural resources increases the likelihood that countries will experience negative economic, political and social outcomes, including poor economic performance, increased income inequality, widespread poverty, low levels of democracy, high levels of corruption and a greater likelihood of civil war. This literature has been extremely influential: the idea that natural resources are counterproductive to development is now widely accepted. Resource booms are seen to have a broad and mostly negative impact on the economies, societies and politics of the respective countries. However, after two decades of research on the issue, there is still no conclusive evidence regarding the effects – and even less so regarding the causal mechanisms – of the so-called ‘resource curse’. Most of the literature on the economic and socio-economic challenges of resource booms is based on large-N studies, where conclusions are drawn from correlations of country-level variables for a large set of countries. Very few analyses of resource booms have taken into account the decision-making processes and the interrelated conflicts of interest or political calculations of the actors involved. At the same time, there is a growing consensus in the academic literature that institutional weakness is central to the explanation of the negative effects of resource booms. The quality of institutions is considered a fundamental factor in determining a country’s economic performance. Sound macroeconomic or microeconomic policies need an institutional structure to support them. Several studies stress the role of institutions and good governance in offsetting the negative effects caused by resource booms. In the literature on resource booms, there is no single explanation of what constitutes a ‘blessing’ rather than a ‘curse’, nor is there agreement on any collection of explanations. This lack of consensus argues for applying a case-by-case approach rather than trying to force some sort of generalization. Accordingly, this review is based on the assumption that the negative consequences of a resource boom are by no means an inevitable ‘curse’, but rather the result of specific policy choices. Indeed, some resource-rich countries manage the related challenges very well, and thus mitigate or avoid the negative impact.

Besprochen werden u. a.:
Basedau, M./Kappel, R. (Hrsg.)
: Machtquelle Erdöl (446); Basedau, M./Richter, T.: Why Do some Oil Exporters Experience Civil War but Others Do not? (450); Shabafrouz, M.: Fuel for Conflict or Balm for Peace? (450); Lesourne, J./Ramsay, W. (Hrsg.): Governance of Oil in Africa (451); Lowi, M. R.: Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics (451); Behrends, A./Reyna, S. P./Schlee, G. (Hrsg.): Crude Domination (453); Reed, K.: Crude Existence (454); Humphreys, M./Sachs, J./Stiglitz, J. (Hrsg.): Escaping the Resource Curse (457); Victor, D./Hults, D./Thurber, M. (Hrsg.): Oil and Governance (457); Jones Luong, P./Weinthal, E.: Oil Is not a Curse (459); Bayulgen, O.: Foreign Investment and Political Regimes (461); Kalyuzhnova, Y.: Economics of the Caspian Oil and Gas Wealth (462); Najman, B./Pomfret, R. W./Raballand, G. (Hrsg.): The Economics and Politics of Oil in the Caspian Basin (464); Gawrich, A./Franke, A./Windwehr, A. (Hrsg.): Are Resources A Curse? (465); Kusznir, J.: Der politische Einfluss von Wirtschaftseliten in russischen Regionen (466); Ostrowski, W.: Politics and Oil in Kazakhstan (467); Øverland, I./Kjærnet, H./Kendall-Taylor, A. (Hrsg.): Caspian Energy Politics (469); Gawrich, A./Knelangen, W./Windwehr, J. (Hrsg.): Sozialer Staat – Soziale Gesellschaft (471); Hogan, W./Sturenegger, F. (Hrsg.): The Natural Resources Trap (472); Mottley, W.: Trinidad and Tobago – Industrial Policy 1959–2008 (472); Di John, J.: From Windfall to Curse? (473); Dunning, T.: Crude Democracy (473); Salas, M.T.: The Enduring Legacy (474)


Dr. Volker Köhler
(Essays und Rezensionsaufsätze)

Nadja Häckel
(Einzelrezensionen und Heftproduktion)

Jannik Siebmann


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