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The Political Resource Curse


Extant theoretical work on the political resource curse implies that dependence on resource revenues should decrease autocracies’ likelihood of democratizing but not necessarily affect democracies’ chances of survival. Yet most previous empirical studies estimate models that are ill-suited to address this claim. We improve upon previous studies, estimating a dynamic logit model using data from 166 countries, covering the period from 1816 to 2006. We find that an increase in resource dependence decreases an autocracy’s likelihood of being democratic over both the short term and long term but has no appreciable effect on democracies’ likelihood of persisting.

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