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The Natural Resources TrapPrivate Investment without Public Commitment$
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William Hogan and Federico Sturzenegger

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262013796

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262013796.001.0001

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A Resource Belief Curse? Oil and Individualism

A Resource Belief Curse? Oil and Individualism

(p.119) 4 A Resource Belief Curse? Oil and Individualism
The Natural Resources Trap

Rafael Di Tella

Juan Dubra

Robert MacCulloch

The MIT Press

This chapter examines how an economy’s share of natural resources, particularly oil, affects political attitudes toward redistribution and regulation of the oil sector. It presents evidence of a negative correlation between individualist beliefs and oil dependence, using survey evidence from the U.S. General Social Survey and the share of oil in a state’s GDP for the period 1983–2004. The first theoretical mechanism delivering the correlation is the “charity model,” which posits that people feel richer and want to increase the amount of money they give to the poor whenever the price of oil increases. The chapter offers a very interesting example of how important it is to study the two-way interaction between economic conditions, on the one hand, and social beliefs and political attitudes, on the other.

Keywords:   natural resources, oil, political attitudes, individualist beliefs, oil dependence, charity model, economic conditions, social beliefs

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