Thresholds Matter: Resource Abundance, Development and Democratic Transition in the Arab World

  • Ibrahim Ahmed Elbadawi
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


The empirical cross-country growth literature suggests that the oil and mineral resource curse is a long-term phenomenon and is conditional on bad political governance. This important discovery seems to adequately explain the successes and failures of the exceeding majority of resource-rich economies (e.g. Collier and Goderis, 2009; Elbadawi and Soto, 2012). Indeed, development experiences corroborate the view that without a high enough standard of democracy, to ensure political inclusiveness, and robust political checks and balances to enforce the rules for sharing rents, the median resource endowed country will likely experience the resource curse in the long-run.


Resource Abundance Arab World Gulf Cooperation Council Democratic Transition Resource Rent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acemoglu, Daron and James Robinson (2012). Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperty and Poverty. 1st ed. New York: Crown.Google Scholar
  2. Alesina, Alberto, Reza Baqir and William Easterly (2000), “Redistributive Public Employment,” Journal of Urban Economics, 48(2): 219–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ali, Orner (2009), “A Theory of Dictatorship,” Unpublished MSc dissertation, Department of Economics, University ofl Warwick.Google Scholar
  4. Ali, Orner and Ibrahim Elbadawi (2012). “The Political Economy of Public Sector Employment in Resource Dependent Countries,” ERF Working Paper #673, The Economic Research Forum, Cairo, Egypt.Google Scholar
  5. Besley, T. and T. Persson (2009). “Repression or Civil War?”, American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 99(2): 292–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bodea, C. and I. Elbadawi (2007). “Riots, coups and Civil War: Revisiting the Greed and Grievance Debate”, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4397, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  7. Cammett, Melani, Ishac Diwan, Allan Richards, and John Waterbury (2015). A Political Economy of the Middle East, Perseus Books.Google Scholar
  8. Caselli, R and W. J. Coleman II (2013). “On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict”, Journal of the European Economic Association, 11 (Supplement 1): 161–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cingranelli, David L. and David L. Richards (2008). Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset 2008. (Available from
  10. Collier, P. and B. Goderis (2009). “Commodity prices, growth and the natural resource curse: reconciling a conundrum,” CSAE Working Paper Series 2007–15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  11. Collier, P. and A. Hoefler (2004). “Greed and Grievance in Civil War”, Oxford Economic Papers 56: 563–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Collier, P. and A. Hoeffler (2009). “Testing the Neocon Agenda: Democracy in Resource- rich Societies”, European Economic Review, 53(3): 293–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Corden, W.M. (1982). “Exchange rate policy and the resource boom,” Economic Record, 58(160): 18–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Corden, W.M. and J.P. Neary (1984). “Booming sector and de-industrialization in a small open economy,” Economic Journal, 92: 825–848.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Desai, Raj M., A. Olofsgard, and T. Yousef (2009). “The Logic of Authoritarian Bargains,” Economics & Politics, 21(1): 93–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Diwan, Ishac (2012). “Understanding Revolution in the Middle East: The Central Role of the Middle Class,” ERF Research Working Paper #726, The Economic Research Forum, Cairo.Google Scholar
  17. El-Affendi, Abdelwahab (2011). “Political culture and the crisis of democracy in the Arab world,” in Elbadawi and Makdisi (ed.), Democracy in the Arab World: Explaining the Deficit. Routledge, pp. 11–40.Google Scholar
  18. Elbadawi, Ibrahim (2015). “Resource Abundance Thresholds and Economic Develop ment,” unpublished mimeo, Economic Research Forum, Cairo, Egypt (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  19. Elbadawi, I. and A. Gelb. (2010). “Oil and Economic Diversification in the Arab World,” Approach Paper, Economic Research Forum, Cairo, Egypt.Google Scholar
  20. Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Samir Makdisi (2013). “Deconstructing Democratic Transitions in the Arab World,” unpublished mimeo, Institute of Financial Economics, Department of Economics, The University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.Google Scholar
  21. Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Samir Makdisi, Samir (eds.) (2011). Democracy in the Arab World: Explaining the Deficit. Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Raimundo Soto (2012). “Economic Growth During the Oil Cycle,” ERF Working Paper #678, the Economic Research Forum, Cairo, Egypt.Google Scholar
  23. Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Raimundo Soto (2015). “Resource Rents, Institutions and Violent Civil Conflicts,” Defence and Peace Economics, 26(1): 89–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Elbadawi, Ibrahim, Samir Makdisi and Gary Milante (2011). “Explaining the Arab Democracy Deficit,” in Elbadawi and Makdisi (ed.), Democracy in the Arab World: Explaining the Deficit, Routledge, pp. 41–82.Google Scholar
  25. Esfahani, Hadi and Esra Ceviker Gurakar (2014). “Social Order, Rents, And Economic Development in Iran Since Early 20th Century,” ERF Working Paper #850, the Economic Research Forum, Cairo, Egypt.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fearon, J. D. (2005). “Primary Commodity Exports and Civil War”, Journal of Conflict Resolution 49: 483–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fearon, J. D. and D. Laitin (2003). “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War,” American Political Science Review, 97: 75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gelb, A. and S. Grasmann (2008). “Confronting the Oil Curse.” Unpublished mimeo, The World Bank, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  29. Gleditsch, N.P., P. Wallensteen, M. Eriksson, M. Sollenberg and H. Strand (2002). “Armed Conflict 1946–2001: A New Dataset,” Journal of Peace Research, 39(5): 615–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Grossman, H. and J. Mendoza (2003). “Scarcity and appropriative competition,” European Journal of Political Economy, 19: 747–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hausmann, R. and R. Rigobon (2003). An alternative interpretation of the Resource Curse: Theory and Policy Implications, NBER Working Paper No. 9424.Google Scholar
  32. Henisz, W. and B. A. Zelner (2010). Measures of Political Risk Database, The McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University:
  33. Hertog, Steffen (2006). “Modernizing without Democratizing? The Introduction of Formal Politics in Saudi Arabia,” Internationale Politik und gesellschaft, 3: 65–78.Google Scholar
  34. Hodler, R. (2006). “The curse of natural resources in fractionalized countries,” European Economic Review, 50: 1367–1386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Matsen, E. and R. Torvik (2005). “Optimal Dutch disease,” Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, 78(2): 494–515, December.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Matsuyama, K. (1992). “Agricultural productivity, comparative advantage, and economic growth,” Journal of Economic Theory, 58(2): 317–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Miguel, E., S. Satyanath, and E. Sergenti (2004). “Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variable Approach,” Journal of Political Economy, 112(4): 725–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Neary J. P. and S. J. G. van Wijnbergen (1986). Natural Resources and the Macroeconomy. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  39. Nurmikko, Sanna (2008). “Survival of Political Leadership,” Economics Discussion Papers, Department of Economics, University of Essex.Google Scholar
  40. Reuveny, R. and J. Maxwell (2001). “Conflict and Renewable Resources,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 45: 719–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Robinson, J. A. and R. Torvik (2005). “White Elephants,” Journal of Public Economics, 89: 157–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Robinson, J. A., R. Torvik, and T. Verdier (2006). “Political Foundations of the Resource Curse,” Journal of Development Economics, 79: 447–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rodrik, D. (2007). “Why Does the Real Exchange Rate Matter to Growth,” unpublished mimeo, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  44. Ross, M. (2004). “What Do We Know About Natural Resources and Civil War?” Journal of Peace Research, 41: 337–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ross, M. (2009). “Oil and Democracy Revisited,” unpublished mimeo, UCLAGoogle Scholar
  46. Department of Political Science Los Angeles, CA 90095, March.Google Scholar
  47. Sachs, D. Jeffrey (2007). “How to Handle the Macroeconomics of Oil Wealth,” in Escaping the resource curse, Humphreys, M., J. D. Sachs, and J. E. Stiglitz (eds.), pp. 173–193.Google Scholar
  48. Sambanis, N. (2004). “What Is Civil War. Conceptual and Empirical Complexities of an Operational Definition,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 48(6): 814–858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Themnér, L. and P. Wallensteen (2012). “Armed Conflict, 1946–2011,” Journal of Peace Research, 49(4).Google Scholar
  50. UCDP/PRIO (2012). Armed Conflict Dataset v.4-, 1946–2011.Google Scholar
  51. Wintrobe, Ronald (1990). “The Tinpot and the Totalitarian: an Economic Theory of Dictatorship,” American Political Science Review, 84(3): 849–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Economic Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ibrahim Ahmed Elbadawi

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations