Public Brainpower

Civil Society and Natural Resource Management

  • Indra Overland

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Paola Rivetti, Francesco Cavatorta
    Pages 23-40
  3. Carlo Tognato
    Pages 91-106
  4. Roman Vakulchuk, Indra Overland
    Pages 143-162 Open Access
  5. Ebtissam El Kailani-Chariat
    Pages 163-179
  6. Nina Poussenkova, Indra Overland
    Pages 261-289 Open Access

About this book


This book examines how civil society, public debate and freedom of speech affect natural resource governance. Drawing on the theories of Robert Dahl, Jurgen Habermas and Robert Putnam, the book introduces the concept of ‘public brainpower’, proposing that good institutions require: fertile public debate involving many and varied contributors to provide a broad base for conceiving new institutions; checks and balances on existing institutions; and the continuous dynamic evolution of institutions as the needs of society change.

The book explores the strength of these ideas through case studies of 18 oil and gas-producing countries: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Saudi, UAE, UK and Venezuela. The concluding chapter includes 10 tenets on how states can maximize their public brainpower, and a ranking of 33 resource-rich countries and the degree to which they succeed in doing so.

The Introduction and the chapters 'Norway: Public Debate and the Management of Petroleum Resources and Revenues', 'Kazakhstan: Civil Society and Natural-Resource Policy in Kazakhstan', and 'Russia: Public Debate and the Petroleum Sector' of this book are available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at


Natural Resources Oil and Gas Resource Curse Civil Society Institutions Mass Media Freedom of Speech Governance

Editors and affiliations

  • Indra Overland
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)OsloNorway

Bibliographic information