On average, resource-abundant countries have experienced lower growth over the last four decades than their resource-poor counterparts. But the most interesting aspect of the paradox of plenty is not the average effect of natural resources, but its variation. For every Nigeria or Venezuela there is a Norway or a Botswana. Why do natural resources induce prosperity in some countries but stagnation in others? This paper gives an overview of the dimensions along which resource-abundant winners and losers differ. In light of this, it then discusses different theory models of the resource curse, with a particular emphasis on recent developments in political economy.
Oxford Review of Economic Policy (2009) 25 (2) 241-256 [doi:10.1093/oxrep/grp015]