Escaping the Resource Curse

Escaping the Resource Curse

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The wealth derived from natural resources can have a tremendous impact on the economics and politics of producing countries. In the last quarter century, we have seen the surprising and sobering consequences of this wealth, producing what is now known as the "resource curse." Countries with large endowments of natural resources, such as oil and gas, often do worse than their poorer neighbors. Their resource wealth frequently leads to lower growth rates, greater volatility, more corruption, and, in extreme cases, devastating civil wars. In this volume, leading economists, lawyers, and political scientists address the fundamental channels generated by this wealth and examine the major decisions a country must make when faced with an abundance of a natural resource. They identify such problems as asymmetric bargaining power, limited access to information, the failure to engage in long-term planning, weak institutional structures, and missing mechanisms of accountability. They also provide a series of solutions, including recommendations for contracting with oil companies and allocating revenue; guidelines for negotiators; models for optimal auctions; and strategies to strengthen state-society linkages and public accountability. The contributors show that solutions to the resource curse do exist; yet, institutional innovations are necessary to align the incentives of key domestic and international actors, and this requires fundamental political changes and much greater levels of transparency than currently exist. It is becoming increasingly clear that past policies have not provided the benefits they promised. Escaping the Resource Curse lays out a path for radically improving the management of the world's natural resources.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 160.02 x 232 x 32mm | 662.24g
  • Columbia University Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 7 Halftones, 10 Four Color, 2 Line Art, 19 Total Art, 21 Tables
  • 0231141963
  • 9780231141963
  • 414,419

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Author Information

Macartan Humphreys is assistant professor of political science at Columbia University and publishes on the politics of economic policy making, bargaining theory, and rebel behavior in civil war. Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President and Co-Founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty.He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including The End of Poverty. Joseph E. Stiglitz is a University Professor at Columbia University and former chief economist and senior vice-president of the World Bank. Among his books is Globalization and Its Discontents, which has been translated into twenty-eight languages. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics.

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Review quote

This is a timely and important contribution to the debate on the so-called resource curse and how to avoid it--especially important in a time of concern about energy security and sustainable economic development. As someone who witnesses first hand the struggle for more transparency and good governance in the global energy business, I welcome the fresh, thought-provoking, and always illuminating insights offered in this collection of essays. -- Lord Browne, Group Chief Executive, BP (British Petroleum) This is a timely and important effort to throw light on and seek solutions to the phenomenon of the 'resource curse' whose effects have contributed to keeping millions of people impoverished despite the wealth of their countries. It should be an essential handbook for policy makers in all oil-rich countries. -- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs for Nigeria A primer on ways governments and multinationals can ensure that resource wealth becomes not a curse but rather a source of sustained wealth. Canadian Business

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