Economics of Governance

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 225–259 | Cite as

Formal models of the political resource curse

  • Desiree A. DesiertoEmail author
Original Paper


By surveying formal models, I demonstrate that the political resource curse is the misallocation of revenues from natural resources and other windfall gains by political agents. I show that the curse always exists if political agents are rent-seeking, since mechanisms of government accountability, e.g. electoral competition, the presence of political challengers, and even the threat of violent conflict, are inherently imperfect. However, the scope for rent-seeking becomes more limited as the competition over political power that threatens the incumbent government becomes more intense.


Resource curse Political rent-seeking Misappropriation of resource revenues 

JEL Classification

D72 D73 D74 H41 O5 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International JusticeStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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