Article

Natural Resources and Democracy in Latin America

Stephen Haber and Victor Menaldo

in The Oxford Handbook of Latin American Political Economy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747504
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199747504.013.0015

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Natural Resources and Democracy in Latin America

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  • Public Economics
  • Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Resource Economics

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This article examines whether oil and mineral abundance affects democracy in Latin America. It first reviews the methodological innovations and findings from an ongoing research program that reevaluates the resource curse hypothesis on a global scale using a time-series and counterfactually driven approach to the data. While there is no evidence that increased natural resource reliance undermine democracy or prevent democratization, some results suggest a resource blessing. The article then explores why findings diverge from conventional wisdom, offering both methodological and theoretical reasons why the resource curse theory and its supporting evidence are flawed. This is followed by a reevaluation of the evidence for a resource blessing in Latin America along the lines pursued in the authors' general research program. Contradicting extant work on this topic, their findings suggest that natural resources are neither a curse nor a blessing in Latin America.

Keywords: Latin America; resource curse; natural resources; democracy

Article.  5914 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Public Economics ; Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Resource Economics

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