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Before the natural resource boon: state-civil society relations and democracy in resource rich societies.


There is a well known tendency for oil and mineral wealth to be associated with antidemocratic characteristics in the political structure of a society. (1) Indeed, the concept of the resource curse--that a society is doomed to authoritarianism in the presence of an abundance of valuable natural resources--has become common knowledge in the development studies field. Yet oil and minerals are also a major revenue source in some of the world's most developed democracies.

We seek to distinguish between cases in which natural resource windfalls stunt democratization and the rarer circumstances in which societies reap commodity harvests without sowing the seeds of dictatorship. The effects of a natural resource discovery on the political structure of a society are mediated by the character of state-civil society relations before the discovery. Preexisting state-civil society relations do not simply determine--in binary fashion--whether natural resource wealth will undermine or bolster democracy; such relations shape the trajectories of authoritarianism or democracy along which resource dependent societies will travel. Here we demonstrate three distinct authoritarian paths followed by major oil producers, the common factors leading all of them to authoritarian outcomes, and the differences amongst them inducing them to adopt divergent modes of authoritarianism. We pursue analogous tasks with regard to two natural resource dependent, democratic societies.

The large-n, quantitative studies of Ross (2) and Haber and Menaldo (3) demonstrate that there is no determinate or absolute relationship between resource wealth and political outcomes. These authors, however, differ on whether the apparent causal relationship between resource wealth and authoritarianism is mediated by country-specific variables (4) or is spurious (5). Ross (6) claims that "historical and cultural factors" shape the effects of resource wealth on a country's level of democracy. The specification of these factors is beyond the scope of Ross's large-n research design, and he claims that they must be discerned via case studies of resource rich societies. We develop a generalizable model to explain the variables mediating the relationship between resource wealth and political outcomes, rather than treating them as exogenous and strictly relative to the circumstances of particular countries.

According to the time-series analysis of Haber and Menaldo (7), resource dependent societies tend toward authoritarianism because resource dependence is correlated with other factors that cause antidemocratic outcomes, not because resource dependence itself directly causes these results. Failing to find a relationship between contemporaneous changes in resource wealth and democratization, Haber and Menaldo (8) assert that the politics of resource rich societies are the consequence of "time-invariant and country-specific fixed effects." We posit that the advent of resource wealth, combined with civil society conditions prior to its discovery, shape a society's subsequent trajectory of authoritarianism or democratization. A methodology measuring simultaneous changes in these factors--such as that of Haber and Menaldo (9)--would fail to detect the relationships of political trajectories to long-term levels of resource wealth and conditions in civil society.

Individual case studies may provide a fine-grained image of how resource wealth interacts with other traits of a particular society to produce political outcomes. For example, in his study of Nigeria, Watts (10) demonstrates parallels and continuities between the multi-tiered conflicts afflicting this society under colonialism and its postcolonial history of endemic civil strife. Oil was superimposed upon these conflicts at around the time of independence, raised the stakes of such disputes, and thereby caused them to intensify. We believe it is important not only to retrospectively trace the multifaceted contingencies affecting the relationship between resource wealth and political outcomes in particular societies, but to prospectively predict how a resource discovery will affect a society's political configuration.

This prospective task is important from both a practical and theoretical point of view. The quality of a theory is enhanced as its predictive power increases, as it becomes more generally applicable, and as it becomes more readily falsifiable. A general explanation of the factors that mediate the effects of resource wealth on political outcomes is superior, on all of these grounds, to a historical analysis of the political economy of natural resource wealth in a single case. (11) From a practical perspective, a general explanation of the factors that mediate the political effects of resource wealth may offer prescriptions by which to avert an authoritarian drill in countries on the verge of exploiting major resource discoveries.

Our study posits mechanisms through which political structures are stabilized or transformed via the advent of natural resource wealth. We utilize historical studies of specific cases, and we situate these cases in a comparative analysis, in order to investigate these mechanisms in detail, allow for generalizable conclusions about the relationships between resource wealth and democracy, and contribute to the conversation on the potential for democratic transformation in resource rich authoritarian states. While past historical studies (12, 13, 14, 15) have compared cases of resource rich states, they have not adequately focused on the nexus of interaction between institutional configurations prior to resource discoveries and political structures after resource windfalls.

One such study, that of Karl (16), provides a detailed analysis of the economic and political distortions induced when a country's economy becomes focused around a concentrated, capital intensive, and foreign dominated extractive sector. The state's condition prior to the advent of this sector factors into Karl's analysis, in that states with a prior history of robust institutions have a greater capacity to resist these distortions and exercise the upper hand in bargaining with oil and mineral multinationals. (17) Karl's work focuses on the ill effects of resource wealth upon a society, while its lack of institutional capacity prior to obtaining this wealth is treated as a condition necessary to inducing these ill effects. We go beyond this treatment of prior political configurations as merely opening the playing field for resources to wreak political and economic havoc and seek to investigate the specific mechanisms of interaction between resource wealth and preexisting political conditions.

Benjamin Smith (18) criticizes scholars such as Karl who give causal primacy to oil in shaping the political system of a society. According to Smith (19), oil wealth is not "a structural variable exerting its own effects;" instead "oil revenues 'do' different things depending on the context in which they do them." Specifically, Smith (20) distinguishes between two trajectories followed by states after the discovery of oil, "durable" and "vulnerable" authoritarianism. The former (exemplified by Indonesia for Smith (21) comes about when resources are discovered late in regime development after a state has already consolidated its power and fiscal base, and oil adds additional patronage to an already strong "regime project." (22) In contrast, "vulnerable" authoritarianism (exemplified by Iran for Smith) (23) involves the "substitution of oil for statecraft," where a regime discovers oil before developing strong institutions or ties with civil society and uses oil as a substitute means of procuring revenues and consent. (24)

Smith treats the state as an agent garnering revenues and consent, and he views natural resources as modifying the incentive structures facing states in achieving these ends. While we agree with Smith's emphasis upon the timing--within a state's developmental history--of natural resource discoveries, we take issue with his intentionalist bias and his view of states as agents of social control. Rather we view states as composites of relationships between political leaders and various organized interests in society, including extractive industries and, potentially, a democratic electorate. Smith's analysis of the effects of oil extends only as far as distinguishing between various modes of authoritarianism, because he solely conceives of the state as an autonomous agent of control. We instead provide an evaluation of the effects of natural resource wealth upon democracy, where democracy is a system in which broad segments of society participate in constituting the state.

Cases/Methods: We investigate three cases of countries that used natural resources to sustain and amplify antidemocratic practices and characteristics in their political systems: Russia, Venezuela, and Nigeria. We seek to uncover distinctions between these countries that set them on divergent pathways of resource-based authoritarianism. Despite vast differences between these countries, we also seek common factors that caused oil to have antidemocratic effects in all three cases.

In studying these cases, we apply a most different methodology, formulated in Wood (25) on the basis of Mill's (26) method of agreement. The latter is grounded in the premise that necessary causes of an outcome are present in all cases of that outcome. By comparing several cases of a particular outcome, any antecedent condition that is not present in all cases can be excluded from the set of that outcome's necessary conditions, while conditions present in all cases are included in the set of potential necessary conditions. These are only potential necessary conditions, however, because the possibility remains that another case could be discovered in which one or more of these conditions are lacking. Wood (27) refines Mill's method of agreement by selecting cases with the most divergent possible antecedent conditions, which creates the narrowest possible set of conditions in common among the cases.

We begin with an analysis of the impact of commodity windfalls in post-Soviet Russia. This society has a long tradition of stable, authoritarian state institutions that are disproportionately more powerful than those of civil society. Our second case, Venezuela, exemplifies a similar imbalance in state-civil society relations but in the context of chronic regime change. Our third case treats a situation where there was not, prior to oil discoveries, a concentration of power in the state on par with that found in Russia or Venezuela, but where oil wealth has nevertheless stunted democracy. The Nigerian state has reproduced itself through devolving powers of governance to competing regions and groups, and keeping them minimally together through the distribution of patronage. We seek to identify common characteristics of these seemingly disparate cases wherein resource discoveries have reinforced antidemocratic political configurations.

In the second stage of our analysis, we incorporate two cases of states that have sustained robust democracy in the presence of commodity windfalls. Norway, our first case, had a flourishing, diversified economy and entrenched democratic traditions prior to the discovery of oil. Our second case, Botswana, was economically underdeveloped before the exploitation of massive diamond reserves (28) but had a political and economic elite unified around the cattle industry. Because Norway and Botswana were vastly different in terms of level of economic development, culture, and political organization antecedent to their discoveries of natural resources, this comparison allows us to pinpoint a narrow set of common features that caused them both to sustain democracy after these discoveries.

In addition to providing comparisons within our sets of most different cases, we conduct a comparison between these sets using Mill's (29) method of difference. In order to determine whether alteration of an independent variable causes a change in a dependent variable, we would ideally control for or hold constant all other conditions. However, with phenomena as multifaceted as states, where various facets are inextricably interrelated, it is nearly impossible to control for all but one facet. What we can conclude, however, is that factors that are held constant in two cases of different outcomes do not account for the difference.

If we had only included Norway as a case of successful promotion of democracy under the auspices of resource wealth, it might be surmised that its very advanced level of economic development, relative to our antidemocratic cases, accounts for its success. The inclusion of Botswana--which was arguably less economically advanced, prior to its diamond windfall, than any of our other cases (30)--counters the supposition that Norway's prior economic maturity is the primary cause of this success.

Due to space constraints, we provide summary accounts of Norway and Russia, countries where resource-based regimes are long entrenched and relatively stable, and place greater emphasis on societies that are in a process of political and economic development. Our thesis emerges from the analysis of the cases, and our conclusions are developed within the case studies as the article progresses.


Russia: Russia was the world's leading oil producer in the late nineteenth century and again, following major oil discoveries in the 1960s and 1970s, from 1975 to just after the Soviet collapse. (32) Oil revenues were not initially central to facilitating the USSR's autocratic mode of governance. Rather the foundation of this system was formed by a combination of popular suppression, the exigencies of transforming the economy to prepare for global war, and the promise of diffuse material improvements. After World War II, the state's guarantees of price stability and full employment took precedence in forming the basis of popular support for the regime, though the public was estranged from political and economic decision making. (33) The abundance of oil in the USSR provided the government with leverage in keeping down the costs of domestic consumer goods, accessing foreign exchange, and solidifying international alliances (by providing energy aid to client states). The inefficient command economy failed to generate sufficient revenues, in the long run, to sustain the state's guarantees of full employment and price stability, along with the military expenditures needed to rival the US, leading to the collapse of the Soviet economy in 1991. The inflow of oil revenues in the 1970s, when world oil prices were very high, may have helped forestall this collapse, but oil prices were not continually elevated enough to permanently maintain this economic model. (34)

The regime that has been consolidated in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union uses Russia's natural resource wealth to uphold the domestic and international clout of the state and allows minimal popular political participation, like its Soviet predecessor. Unlike its predecessor, it is not faced with expectations that it will guarantee full employment and price stability to compensate for the public's lack of control over the political and economic systems. The Yeltsin administration (in office from 1991 to 1999) allowed for political competition and free elections but facilitated the concentration of natural resource wealth in the hands of a group of oligarchs. (35) While Yeltsin operated under conditions of pluralist democracy in a formal sense, Putin's hold on power (spanning from 1999 to the present) has been accompanied by wanton disregard for most vestiges of formal democratic procedure. (36, 37) The rules of the political game have been altered, under Putin, to give the state the upper hand in its relationships with both the electorate and private owners of natural resource wealth. The state has imposed severe limits on free expression, eliminated many political parties, and used legal harassment to bankrupt opposition media outlets and hamstring independent civil society organizations. (38) The heads of businesses showing too much independence from the state have been subjected to prosecution or extralegal violence, and the assets of such businesses have been confiscated through legal subterfuges. (39)

Although ownership of natural resource enterprises is concentrated in the state and private oligarchs, economic benefits of elevated oil and natural gas prices have reached the general public. The portion of the population living in poverty fell from one third to 17 per cent between 1999 and 2007. (40) Putin has enjoyed high approval ratings despite suppression of political participation and imposition of a stranglehold on the economy. Russia controls much of Europe's gas supply and all of that of several former Soviet republics. This provides a boost to Russia's international stature that compensates partially for the decay of the military it inherited from the Soviet Union.

The Russian state does not possess the domestic power intrinsic to controlling a command economy or the international clout that accompanied Soviet military preeminence. Yet the current regime need not make the military or welfare expenditures that brought down the prior system. And, crucially, the stability of this regime does not hinge on its occupying the heights of domestic or international influence commanded by the Soviet Union. Russia is no longer the direct military rival of the US, and it no longer needs the level of public cooperation required to run a command economy. The current regime uses its control over natural resources as an alternate source of domestic and international power. Economic elites must cater to the state's whims in order to share in the state's wealth. (41) The general public faces a stark choice between accepting trickle down benefits of Russia's lucrative oil and gas industries or, alternatively, organizing against the state and facing draconian repression.

Venezuela: The prevailing mode of governance in Venezuela, since it established independence in 1821, has been democratic Caesarism (42), where power is concentrated in a leadership that claims to directly represent the will and interests of the masses. The Venezuelan economy has been dominated by a sequence of primary export commodities (first cacao, then coffee, and finally oil), according to the needs of the international market. Civil strife between regionally-based factions over control of the state, as a means of attaining power over exports, was endemic during Venezuela's first century of independence. Large landowners chronically failed to agree on a single national export policy, and no faction was able to win a lasting victory in the ensuing civil conflicts. This violent stalemate periodically gave rise to military based dictators, who tried to rule above the warring factions and used export revenues to consolidate their own "Caesaristic" power. When commodity revenues fell, these dictators had difficulty holding onto power, resulting in renewed civil strife.

Since Venezuela became the world's leading oil exporter in 1928, (43) its political system has repeatedly experienced drastic changes in institutional form--having gone from military rule (under Juan Vicente Gomez, from 1908 to 1935, and his successors, from 1935 to 1945), to one party democracy (under Romulo Betancourt and his party, Accion Democratica, from 1945 to 1948), to another military dictatorship (under a junta and subsequently under Marcos Perez Jimenez, from 1948 to 1958), to the putative liberal democracy implemented thereafter (under the parties Accion Democratica and Comite de Organizacion Politica Electoral Independiente, from 1958 to 1998), to the plebiscitarian democracy of the contemporary era (under Hugo Chavez, from 1998 to the present). But these apparently disparate regimes have followed patterns akin to those of their pre-oil predecessors, as a result of operating in a similar structural context. Oil rents are the primary source of wealth in Venezuelan society, and the state is the ultimate arbiter of the distribution of these rents. "All major social groups [...] see the state as the source of their security or fortune;" (44) no significant faction in civil society has developed a material base for asserting bargaining power in relation to the state. Correspondingly, no regime has succeeded in constructing an adequately robust following in civil society to withstand the consequences of vicissitudes in oil prices. (45) Before oil rose to preeminence, Venezuela's dictators had no substantial power base outside of patronage and used export revenues to cobble together enough support to stay in office until export prices fell. This pattern has been perpetuated since oil became dominant, even as the state went through a series of institutional transfigurations.

Each regime during Venezuela's oil era has come to power on the basis of the perception that its predecessor engaged in the "privatization of state power and wealth." (46) This perception equals the claim that the preceding regime took a resource that ought to be used to serve the "national interest" and usurped it for the private aggrandizement of those in office. When this perception becomes widespread enough among power brokers in Venezuelan society--such as military officers, patrons with influence among the poverty stricken masses, and bureaucrats--a movement emerges that foments regime change.

The emergence of a new regime brings with it promises to eliminate graft and nationalize what rightfully belongs to the nation. These promises are not articulated through mere slogans but also through a reorganization of political institutions, supposedly in a manner that eliminates the foundations of the prior corruption. Furthermore, if oil prices are high, the new regime is able to distribute patronage diffusely and pursue infrastructural modernization. Thus regime change provides tangible benefits to the populace and may induce a short lived euphoria based on the perception that the nation has finally been set on its proper path. But these transformations fail to produce durable support among those who matter politically, and the new regime eventually succumbs to the perception that it too has sold out the national interest. (47)

The reason for the repetition of this cycle, despite the apparent institutional differences between the various regimes, is that oil rents form the structural foundation of every regime. The institutional modifications accompanying each regime change are designed to allow such rents to be utilized in a fashion more satisfactory to a relevant set of power brokers, rather than to contest oil's centrality to Venezuela's economy and polity. The economic welfare of the nation rises and falls as oil prices fluctuate. Regimes may use the surplus revenue generated from elevated oil prices to produce the appearance of generalized prosperity, but the superficiality of this appearance is exposed when oil prices fall. No regime to date has succeeded in diversifying the economy and mitigating the economic impact of declines in oil prices. (48) This is because the capacity to determine distribution of oil rents forms the core of regimes' power, and a regime would be undermining its own power base by contesting the centrality of oil to Venezuela's economy.

According to Tilly (49), the foundations of liberal democracy lie in a process of bargaining where the state gains access to some resource that it needs but is controlled by the populace--such as military manpower or tax revenues--in exchange for providing the public with some control over the state. In Venezuela such a resource was lacking. At the time of 1958's liberal democratic coup, Venezuela had a small working class, a "declining peasantry," and an "expanding but state-dependent middle class," in an economy based around oil. (50) In a diversified market economy, power and resources are controlled diffusely among private capitalists and their dependents. In Venezuela's oil economy, the public had almost nothing the state needed (except some modicum of consent, organized by the political parties), and thus politics were top-heavy and dominated by those within the state, political parties, or the military.

The 1958 liberal democratic coup was brought about when political elites reached an understanding with each other to share power through a two party system. The parties would alternate in "occupying" the rentier state and using its spoils for patronage. Liberal democracy, for Venezuela, was a compromise between various factions of a concentrated political elite, not between the state and a more diffuse public. The incentives of state officials were oriented around distributing patronage amongst the political elite rather than engaging in sound long-term economic planning, and they engaged in gross economic mismanagement. When oil prices declined in the early-to-mid 1990s, an economic crisis developed, voter participation rates plummeted, and perceptions of official corruption became widespread. (51)

Thus the political situation was ripe for the emergence of a populist "white knight"--in the form of Hugo Chavez--to putatively save the nation from the liberal democratic parties' misappropriation and mismanagement of its resources. But Chavez's regime has continued to use oil wealth to support a rentier state, tied to Venezuela's economic well-being exclusively to this resource, and thus set the stage for further economic calamity. (52, 53) The receipts of oil rents have allowed the Chavez regime to undermine the political base of a balanced opposition within the state, in contrast to the preceding two-party system. (54)

The political system of Venezuela has alternated between periods in which the state operated virtually unchecked by civil society and periods of political upheaval in which dissatisfied social groups coalesced to bring about regime change. (55) Between upheavals, no effective mechanism existed to hold regimes accountable to the interests of groups with the capacity to overthrow them, because these groups needed to tow the regimes' line in order to sustain their access to oil based rents. In contrast to Venezuela, Russia has been characterized by the stability of its authoritarian political system. But in both cases, the economic centrality of oil has stunted the development of a civil society that can hold the state accountable to its constituents. Instead, the regimes of both Russia and Venezuela present the populace with a stark "take it or leave it" choice: conform to the state's will or seek regime change. Only the Russian regime has entrenched institutions of authoritarian coercion so thoroughly as to guarantee that most of the populace will consistently choose to "take it."

Nigeria: Large oil reserves were discovered in the Niger Delta in 1956, and oil production came online at around the time of Nigeria's independence from Britain in 1960. The fledgling state's control of oil revenue resulted in the perpetuation of the patrimonial, decentralized, and conflictual system of state civil-society relations first formalized under. (56,57) This system limited Nigeria's capacity for democratic development.

Nigeria's territory had not constituted a singular political entity before Nigeria was established as a colony in 1914, late in the history of the British Empire. (58) The colonizer's withdrawal from Nigeria came in 1960, when it was already in full retreat everywhere. The relative lateness of both the commencement and the termination of colonialism in Nigeria had a decisive influence upon the shape of political institutions in the newly independent state.

From their previous experience with colonies, the British had learned that "educated natives were trouble," and they therefore decided to "run Nigeria on the cheap." (59) Rather than training an indigenous civil service to exert comprehensive local control on behalf of the colonizer, as they had in India and Egypt, the British decided to set up a colonial regime in Nigeria that was more limited in both its administrative apparatus and its objectives. The primary goal of the colonizer in Nigeria was to extract revenue, via the imposition of taxes, from the exportation of primary commodities. The British formed patrimonial relations with traditional ethnic leaders in order to gain their cooperation in imposing export taxes. (60) Alliances with the British, and access to their superior military technology, became essential to these indigenous elites in consolidating their localized bases of political power.

The British sought to utilize divisions between ethnic groups and regions within Nigeria, in order to buttress the colonizer's political power and prevent the emergence of a unified anti-colonial movement. To encourage ethnic and regional rivalry and hostility, the British established small police forces in various regions and staffed them with members of ethnic groups that were outsiders to those regions. (61) Thus the colonial society of Nigeria was severely fragmented along multiple and overlapping fault lines of ethnicity, region, and local political allegiance. (62)

In India, the colonizer was forced out by a relatively unified political elite that was capable of credibly articulating the nation's interests and mobilizing broad based popular support. (63) This elite became the leadership of the newly independent state. No such indigenous organizational framework was necessary to expel the British from Nigeria, because Britain departed when its empire was in an advanced state of decay. Colonialism in Nigeria left in its wake a society with tremendous centrifugal tendencies that had only been held in check to the minimal degree necessary to support the colonizer's extractions.

The lone Nigerian institution that attained some degree of unity on a national basis was the army, and a long period of military rule--interspersed with attempts at civilian governance--ensued from 1966 to 1999. Even the army was not immune from the fissures that afflicted Nigerian society more generally, and this period of military rule witnessed a series of coups and countercoups by factions within the armed forces that formed along regional and ethnic lines.

Government contracts with multinational oil companies allowed the state to access a greater portion of oil rents in the early 1970s, (64) at the same time that international oil prices spiked. Thus the military government enjoyed a surfeit of oil based revenues. It used them to fund prestige projects and patronage, as a short term expedient by which to shore up its fragile hold on power. This boom in oil revenues exacerbated political instability by turning the new state into a prize coveted by military factions, as a means of accessing that wealth (see Kling (65) for parallels to Latin America).

Under the military, the patrimonial system that served the purposes of the colonizer survived and was reinforced by oil wealth. Multilayered conflicts over oil rents impaired the formation, on the national level, of a competent and unified bureaucracy and political parties capable of mediating between diverse interests and factions of the public. Civil society remained in a fragmented and conflictual condition. Thus, it was easy for the military to wrest control from civilian governments and maintain military rule for most of the period from 1966 to 1999.

For the past 13 years, Nigeria has had civilian rule with democratic elections and regular alternation of governments--for the first time in postcolonial history. Thus far the military has not interfered with Nigeria's democratic electoral processes. (66) Nonetheless the institutions that serve to buttress a democratic state--the bureaucracy, civil society, and the judiciary--function only with considerable interference from state actors who benefit from them. (67) Government agencies lack accountability to a broad-based civil society representing the public interest (68) and instead serve particularistic interest groups. (69) Over the past two years, civil unrest has developed in northern regions that feel disenfranchised and excluded from economic benefits flowing to the oil-rich south. (70) Thus--in a manner somewhat homologous to the passage from communism to authoritarianism in Russia--there has been a transformation in Nigeria's political formula, which is being offered as a form democratic freedom, while the state's functionality remains the same.

The oil resources of Russia and Venezuela have functioned to maintain divisions between a highly organized state and a disorganized and shallow civil society. In the Russian case, the population is assuaged through a combination of trickle down benefits from oil extraction and repressive force. In Venezuela, oil is the lynchpin of ideologies through which successive regimes portray themselves as protectors and their opponents as betrayers of the nation's interests. But Venezuela's oil undermines the capacity of regimes to cultivate connections with civil society that would enable them to withstand downturns in natural resource prices. In Nigeria, oil serves to maintain a civil society saturated with multiple, localized, and conflicting bases of political identity and power. Unlike in Russia and Venezuela, the state-civil society relationship in Nigeria is not one-sidedly top heavy. But oil has functioned in Nigeria, as in Russia and Venezuela, to prevent the coalescing of a unified civil society that can hold the state democratically accountable and through which the state can democratically (that is, by responding to the public's needs) stabilize its hold on power. (71)


Norway: Norway's oil production commenced in 1971, when it already had a stable corporatist democracy and one of the world's most expansive welfare states. Norway now ranks as the world's fifth largest oil exporter and third largest exporter of gas. (72) In our preceding cases, oil wealth was shown to have solidified and enhanced antidemocratic features of state-civil society relations. The Norwegian state, in contrast, has invested much of its oil revenue in a fund to assure the long term solvency of its welfare system, which forms the backbone of Norway's corporatist democracy. (73) This fund, called the Government Pension Fund--Global, was valued at approximately $529 billion, or $107,500 per capita, in 2010. (74) When an economic downturn afflicted Scandinavia in the early 1990s, Norway's retrenchment of its welfare state was not as drastic as that of neighboring Sweden, because Norway was able to use its accumulated oil wealth to compensate for shortfalls in state revenue. (75)

Norway's ability to deliver a stable policy environment for oil investment, exploration, and exploitation, and to reserve a significant portion of the windfalls for the future, is a function of the capacity of its political system to arrive at a consensual compromise between different groups in civil society. (76) The Norwegian state serves as both an effective broker between various constituencies and an enforcer of systemic rationality in times of economic crisis. (77,78) Prior to Norway's oil discoveries, a structural, institutional, and cultural framework was established to enable the state's performance of these roles. This framework consisted of the following elements: a diversified productive economy, a regional balance of power, strong political parties capable of articulating and mediating between diverse interests, rational bureaucracies, and high levels of public confidence in the state. (79,80) Norway's welfare system facilitates compromise by reducing the stakes of political conflicts, because this system provides security to all members of society regard less of short term political outcomes. (81,82)

Upon the discovery of oil, Norway's system of institutionalized compromise was activated to plan for the allocation of oil wealth in a manner that accommodated the interests of various constituencies and promoted long term, society wide objectives. (83,84) An established framework of corporatist democracy prevented the Norwegian state from following the path typical of other oil rich polities, namely the bypassing of dialogue with interest groups in favor of populist patronage and heavy handed diktat. (85)

The power of the Norwegian state, prior to the advent of oil wealth, was based on its functions in an institutionally entrenched and stable system of corporatist democracy. (86,87) If the state had reversed course and used oil revenues in an autonomous and opportunistic fashion, it would have undermined public confidence in its role as honest broker and thereby defeated the long range, institutionalized basis of its own power. The states in Russia, Venezuela, and Nigeria did not have as much to lose from using oil wealth in a top down, opportunistic fashion. Their power was already based in their distribution of largesse and deployment of repression to keep civil society at bay, and their use of oil wealth was only an extension of this preexisting strategy. Thus Norway serves as an effective counterfactual in relation to our prior three cases, whereby we can conclude that the state may refrain from using oil wealth in a myopic fashion if it would thereby endanger the preexisting and reliable base of its own power.

Botswana: Botswana is anomalous among resource rich, less developed societies because its state has consistently maintained liberal democracy since independence (1966) and has successfully implemented measures to immunize the economy from ill effects of the resource boom. But it would be inaccurate to portray Botswana as a utopia in which the volonte generale controls the polity and all of society shares equally in the fruits of economic windfalls. Indeed, Botswana has a Gini coefficient of 61, (88) rendering it among the world's five most unequal countries. The economic and political stability of Botswana have been produced by the consolidation of a unified elite and its establishment of firm control over the state, before Botswana's first major diamond mine began operating in 1972.

Much of the territory encompassing Botswana was a British protectorate (Bechuanaland) from the late nineteenth century until Botswana became independent in 1966. British investment and white settlement in Bechuanaland were minimal, in contrast to neighboring territories such as South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Tswana tribal chiefs collaborated in 1895 to prevent the handover of the protectorate to the British South Africa Company and again in the 1930s to block British plans "to reform administration and to initiate mining and commercial agricultural development." (89) British control over Bechuanaland served mainly to insulate this territory from encroachment by rival colonial powers and to facilitate transportation between other British colonies. Efforts to maintain indigenous political and economic autonomy from the British produced unity amongst Bechuanaland's tribal leaders, who became the consolidated political elite of independent Botswana.

The economic modernization of Botswana and the development of its export cattle industry further unified the elite and provided it with experience in collaborating through the state for its economic betterment. Tribal leaders pursued "defensive modernization" of the economy during colonialism, in order to limit Britain's capacity to increase its clout via subsidizing economic growth. (90) The burgeoning of Botswana's cattle herd from 1,200,000 heads in 1934 to 3,000,000 in 1998 was facilitated by state/private investment in borehole infrastructure in the 1930s and state regulation to prevent overgrazing in the 1960s and 1970s. (91,92) Exports of beef to Europe boomed in 1954 after the opening of a state funded abattoir conforming to international standards. Upon independence, the state run Botswana Meat Commission assumed responsibility for the international marketing of Botswana's meat output. (93) Before the discovery of diamonds, Botswana's cattle barons had already gained experience in coordinating their activities through the state and submitting to state regulation in order to build a beef export industry.

In addition to displaying horizontal unity, Botswana's upper strata has also exercised a stable hold on political power, via a property system by which elites allocate resources that are fundamental to the basic productive activities of non elite clients. (94) Since the advent of its constitution in 1965, the government of Botswana has been controlled unilaterally by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has attained the unified support of the agrarian upper strata. Property relations in Botswana's traditional cattle economy have been such as to create dependence among non elite agrarian producers upon the elite. Formal ownership of cattle is highly concentrated, but affluent producers lend a portion of their cattle to non elite producers, in exchange for a portion of the product of such cattle and the political allegiance of the non elite producers. (95) The allocation of tribal lands, which constitute much of the country's arable territory, is controlled by government boards that are run by members of the cattle raising elite. The fortunes of a non elite agrarian producer are at the mercy of elite patrons who control access to cattle, land, and water. As a result of this dependence, the agrarian elite has been able to garner widespread and stable political support for the BDP, which it controls, among non elites.

Botswana's tribal leaders, who controlled local governments during the colonial period, were also its foremost beef producers and came to occupy top elected and bureaucratic posts in the independent polity. State institutions developed as instruments for promoting the shared economic interests of Botswana's upper class, and the economic elite literally came together in these institutions to construct and implement strategies toward this end. The promotion of private accumulation of wealth serves as the basis for the state's power in Botswana. In our three cases of democratic backsliding, the state used natural resource wealth to subordinate interests outside of the state that threatened its power. Civil society became inert (in Russia and Venezuela) or disorganized and conflictual (in Nigeria) and thus subject to the state's beneficence or repression and not capable of striking genuine democratic bargains (where each side gives up something the other wants) with the state. When Botswana became a major diamond producer, the state was already supported by a unified elite that controlled a majority of the electorate. There was no need for the state to use the newly discovered rents to alter political relations or subjugate political forces outside of itself. Botswana's diamond discoveries enabled the government to enhance and expand its performance of the very function, coordination of elite interests, through which it had been winning elections and thus was not accompanied by democratic backsliding.

Botswana appears similar to Norway in terms of the relationship of its political system to its natural resource boon. Both countries have maintained democracy consistently for decades after their resource discoveries and have used public policy to mitigate the potentially deleterious macroeconomic effects of commodity exports. The primary cause of this similarity is that both countries had consolidated a stable system of democratic consent to the existing political order before profits began to flow from natural resource extraction. Here is where the similarities end.

The populace of Norway consented to a state designed to promote socioeconomic equality, while Botswanans consented to a political framework oriented toward maintaining socioeconomic inequality. By 1971, when Norway began generating oil profits, this country had established one of the world's most robust welfare states. In contrast, Botswana's Gini coefficient in this year was .574, (96) again amongst the highest in the world. (The Gini coefficient increases as inequality increases.) In 2007, Norway's human development index (HDI) was the highest in the world, while Botswana's ranked 125th highest out of 182 countries in the world and beneath that of most countries with similar per capita incomes. (97) Norway and Botswana are currently on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of economic inequality, according to their most recent Gini coefficients. Norway (with a 2008 Gini coefficient of.25) is the second most equal country in the world, while Botswana is the fifth most unequal. Inequality in Norway has declined since the inception of its oil boom, while Botswana's Gini coefficient was higher in 2007 than in 1971.

Small scale cattle production has declined in recent years, and former cattle producers have joined legions of underemployed and unemployed rural wage laborers or have migrated to obtain mining or service sector employment. The result of the displacement of rural producers into a proletarian class is the deterioration of traditional patron- client relations through which the BDP has mobilized pervasive support throughout the history of liberal democratic Botswana. (98) The state has used Botswana's diamond revenues to fund health and education services rather than economic diversification. (99) State services and service sector employment constitute new types of patronage by which popular support for the BDP is sustained.

Thus, in a sense, Botswana resembles Nigeria, in that natural resource revenue has been used to maintain support for the state through patrimonialism, and Botswana resembles Russia, in that diamond revenues have been used to maintain an oligarchy's grip on economic and political power. But, in another sense, Botswana differs from these cases, in that it has consistently upheld democratic rights and procedures, has not used natural resource wealth to suppress extant political opposition in civil society, and ranks among the least corrupt less developed countries in the world (while Russia and Nigeria rank among the most corrupt). (100) Botswana's regime has, arguably, used diamond wealth to prop up its base of support. But it has done so within the preexisting rules of the political game, not through negating these rules, using diamond wealth to enable its arbitrary exercise of power, and thereby destroying democracy. Diamond export revenues have been used to sustain Botswana's democratic political structure, though this is a structure of one party dominance and economic polarization, in contrast to Norway's pluralistic egalitarianism.


An extractive bonanza tempts a state to unilaterally capture resources and to use these resources to avoid negotiating with, representing, and being held accountable to interests outside of itself. But not all states, in the presence of natural resource windfalls, will use them for antidemocratic ends. Rather the impact of a natural resource discovery upon the political wellbeing of a society is contingent upon the extant interface of state and civil society at the time of the discovery. For this interface to sustain democracy, civil society must be composed of groups that have negotiating power in relation to the state, seek representation in the state, and are willing to bargain over political outcomes. Likewise it is necessary for the state to be accountable to civil society's strategic groups, to represent civil society's demands through the mediation of a political party system, and to synthesize diverse interests into a systemic rationality. Our investigation of Botswana belies the notion that something unique to Western European social democracy is fundamental to the appropriate management of natural resource boons. Rather, it underscores our thesis that a consensual, robust, and reciprocal system of state-civil society relations--whether configured along egalitarian lines, traditional lines, or otherwise--is necessary to prevent potential resource blessings from becoming political and economic curses.

We have traced the political trajectories followed, subsequent to major natural resource discoveries, by a set of three cases of democratic backsliding and a set of two cases of stable, functional democracy. The cases within each set display vast differences in their levels of economic development, their political trajectories prior to the advent of resource wealth, and their states' institutional capacities. We have analyzed why the cases in each set, despite the ostensible disparities among them, display similarities in terms of the effects of natural resource discoveries upon their political systems. The backsliders lacked a robust and stable base of support in civil society prior to their resource discoveries. They have governed by maintaining their constituencies in a weak or divided state and using their superior resource base to dominate forces outside of the central state. In stark contrast, the robust democracies thrive on negotiating with, being held accountable to, and providing leadership to a unified and encompassing civil society. As civil society becomes stronger and more organized, these states become stronger and more stable. We conclude that resource windfalls enhance the state's potential to govern through repression or patronage at the expense of democracy, but that a robustly reciprocal state-civil society relationship will restrain the state from doing so.


(1.) Michael Ross, "Does Oil Hinder Democracy?," World Politics 53 (2001), 325-361.

(2.) Ibid.

(3.) Stephen Haber, "Do Natural Resources Fuel Authoritarianism? A Reappraisal of the Resource Curse," (with Victor Menaldo), American Political Science Review 105 (2011), 1-26.

(4.) Michael Ross, "Does Oil Hinder Democracy?"

(5.) Stephen Haber, "Do Natural Resources Fuel Authoritarianism? A Reappraisal of the Resource Curse."

(6.) Michael Ross, "Does Oil Hinder Democracy?" p.346.

(7.) Stephen Haber, "Do Natural Resources Fuel Authoritarianism? A Reappraisal of the Resource Curse" p. 2.

(8.) Ibid.

(9.) Ibid.

(10.) Michael Watts, State, Oil, and Agriculture in Nigeria (Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1987).

(11.) A theory that provides concrete predictions about the production of antidemocratic or democratic outcomes in the presence of natural resource wealth and various mediating factors can be falsified by finding a case where resource wealth and the mediating factors are present but the predicted outcome does not occur. The study of a single case may account for its political outcomes via explanatory factors or combinations of factors unique to that particular case.

(12.) Terry Karl, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).

(13.) Benjamin Smith, "Oil Wealth and Regime Survival in the Developing World, 1960-1999," American Journal of Political Science 48 (2004), 232-246.

(14.) Benjamin Smith, "The Wrong Kind of Crisis: Why Oil Booms and Busts Rarely Lead to Authoritarian Breakdown," Studies in Comparative International Development 40 (2006), 55-76.

(15.) Benjamin Smith, Hard Times in the Lands of Plenty: Oil Politics in Iran and Indonesia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007).

(16.) Terry Karl, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States.

(17.) On the capacity of states to resist pernicious economic consequences of resource dependency, see also Jonathan Isham, "The Varieties of Resource Experience: Natural Resource Export Structures and the Political Economy of Economic Growth," (with Michael Woolcock, Lant Pritchett, and Gwen Busby), The WorldBank Economic Review 19 (2005), 141-174.

(18.) Benjamin Smith, "Oil Wealth and Regime Survival in the Developing World, 1960-1999."

(19.) Ibid p. 243.

(20.) Benjamin Smith, "The Wrong Kind of Crisis: Why Oil Booms and Busts Rarely Lead to Authoritarian Breakdown" p. 55.

(21.) Benjamin Smith, Hard Times in the Lands of Plenty: Oil Politics in Iran and Indonesia.

(22.) Benjamin Smith, "Oil Wealth and Regime Survival in the Developing World, 1960-1999" p. 243.

(23.) Benjamin Smith, Hard Times in the Lands of Plenty: Oil Politics in Iran and Indonesia.

(24.) Benjamin Smith, "Oil Wealth and Regime Survival in the Developing World, 1960-1999" p. 243.

(25.) Elisabeth Wood, Forging Democracy from Below: Insurgent Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

(26.) John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1846).

(27.) Elisabeth Wood, Forging Democracy from Below: Insurgent Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador.

(28.) Botswana is rich in diamonds, while our other cases are rich in a different natural resource, oil. For the purposes of our analysis, these resources are equivalent. Both have the potential to rapidly offer windfalls far in excess of production costs to whomever controls the land under which they are located. Control of land is ultimately vested in the state, and the state can more readily exert control over resource rich lands in politically underdeveloped societies lacking robust protections of private property. Thus, both resources offer potential windfalls to the state.

(29.) John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive.

(30.) Diamond production in Botswana commenced in 1972. At the time of Botswana's independence in 1966, its per capita income was $70 annually, rendering it one of the world's poorest countries, according to Michael Lewin, "Botswana's Success: Good Governance, Good Policies, and Good Luck," in P. Chuhan-Pole and M. Angwafo (eds.), Yes Africa Can: Success Stories from a Dynamic Continent (Washington: The World Bank, 2011) pp. 81-90.

(31.) Democratic backsliding implies an erosion of the state's commitment to and implementation of formal democratic procedures and mechanisms of popular accountability.

(32.) Marshall Goldman, Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 3-6.

(33.) Victor Zaslavsky, The Neo-Stalinist State: Class, Ethnicity, and Consensus in Soviet Society (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharp, 1994), p. 134.

(34.) Marshall Goldman, Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia.

(35.) Ibid.

(36.) Simon Tisdall, "Putinism Could be Russia's Next Export," The Guardian, November 20, 2007.

(37.) Lev Gudkov and Victor Zaslavsky, La Russia Da Gorbaciov a Putin (Bolognia: il Mulino, 2008).

(38.) Edward Lucas, The New Cold War" Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008).

(39.) Marshall Goldman, Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia.

(40.) Edward Lucas, The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West.

(41.) Lev Gudkov and Victor Zaslavsky, La Russia Da Gorbaciov a Putin.

(42.) Peter Baehr, Caesarism, Charisma and Fate: Historical Sources and Modern Resonances in the Work of Max Weber (New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 2009).

(43.) B.S. McBeth, Juan Vicente Gomez and the Oil Companies in Venezuela (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 70.

(44.) Fernando Coronil, The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela (Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1997) p. 165.

(45.) Michael Coppedge, "Explaining Democratic Deterioration in Venezuela Through Nested Inference," in F. Hagopin and S. Mainwaring (eds.), The Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005) pp. 289316.

(46.) Fernando Coronil, The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela p. 133.

(47.) Francisco Rodriguez, "An Empty Revolution--The Unfulfilled Promises of Hugo Chavez," Foreign Affairs 87 (2008), pp. 49-62.

(48.) Juan Corradi, South of the Crisis: A Latin American Perspective on the Late Capitalist World (New York: Anthem Press, 2010).

(49.) Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital and European States, AD 990-1992 (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1990).

(50.) Fernando Coronil, The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela p. 133.

(51.) Michael Coppedge, "Explaining Democratic Deterioration in Venezuela Through Nested Inference."

(52.) Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012).

(53.) Moises Naim, "An Economic Crisis of Historic Proportions," New York Times, January 8, 2013.

(54.) Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, "The Rise of Sustainable Autocracy," (with George Downs), Foreign Affairs 84 (2005), 77-86.

(55.) Michael Coppedge, "Explaining Democratic Deterioration in Venezuela Through Nested Inference."

(56.) Michael Watts, Struggles Over Geography: Violence, Freedom, and Development (Heidelberg, Germany: Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat, 2000).

(57.) Atul Kohli, State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 291-292.

(58.) Obiajulu Obikeze, "Origin and Growth of Federalism in Nigeria: An Assessment," in O.E. Anthony and O.S. Obiajulu (eds.), Federalism and National Integration in Nigeria (Onitshy, Nigeria: Bookpoint Limited, 2004) pp. 9-18.

(59.) Atul Kohli, State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery p. 302.

(60.) Cyril Obi, "The Impact of Oil on Nigeria's Revenue Allocation System: Problems and Prospects for National Reconstruction," in A.A. Kunle (ed.), Federalism and Political Restructuring in Nigeria (Onitshy, Nigeria: Bookpoint Limited, 1999) pp. 261-275.

(61.) Atul Kohli, State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery p. 305.

(62.) Michael Watts, Struggles Over Geography: Violence, Freedom, and Development.

(63.) Francine Frankel, India's Political Economy, 1947-1977: The Gradual Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978).

(64.) Atul Kohli, State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery pp. 351-352.

(65.) Merle Kling, "Towards a Theory of Power and Political Instability in Latin America," Western Political Quarterly 9(1956), 21-35.

(66.) Dhikru Yagboyaju, "Nigeria's Fourth Republic and the Challenges of a Faltering Democratization," African Studies Quarterly 12 (2011), 93-106.

(67.) Ibid.

(68.) Omodia Monday, "Elite Recruitment and Political Instability in the Nigerian Fourth Republic," Journal of Social Sciences 24 (2010), 129-133.

(69.) Ufo Uzodike, "Making Nigerian Federalism Work: Fixing the Democracy Deficit," (with Fidelis Allen and Ayo Whetho), Loyola Journal of Social Sciences 24 (2010), 161-185.

(70.) "The Spreading Northern Insurgency," The Economist, January 14, 2012.

(71.) Cyril Obi, "The Impact of Oil on Nigeria's Revenue Allocation System: Problems and Prospects for National Reconstruction" pp. 918.

(72.) Jorgen Baekken and Evy Zenker, The Norwegian Petroleum Sector, 2007, (government report), (Oslo: Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, 2007).

(73.) Adrian Wooldridge, "Northern Lights," The Economist, February 2, 2013, 3-16.

(74.) Norges Bank Investment Management, "Government Pension Fund Global Annual Report 2010," website:

(75.) John Pratt, Scandinavian Exceptionalism in an Era of Penal Excess Part II: Does Scandinavian Exceptionalism Have a Future?," The British Journal of Criminology, 48 (2008), 275-292.

(76.) Mikkel Mailand, "Corporatism in Denmark and Norway--Yet Another Century of Scandinavian Corporatism?," WSI Mitteilungen, 1 (2009), 1-13.

(77.) Jon Dolvik, Jorgen Andersen, and Juhanan Vartiainen, "The Nordic Social Model: Crisis, Consolidation, and Transformation," (conference paper), (Barcelona: Eighteenth International Conference of Europeanists, 2011), website: Models_LONG-version_JED-JGAJV-26aprilFINAL.pdf, pp. 12-13.

(78.) Jaap Woldendorp, "Corporatism in Small North-West European Countries 1970-2006: Business as Usual, Decline, or a New Phenomenon?," (working paper), (Amsterdam: VU University Amsterdam, 2011), website:

(79.) Terry Karl, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States.

(80.) Matti Alestalo, Sven Hort, and Stein Kuhnle, "The Nordic Model: Conditions, Origins, Outcomes, and Lessons," (working paper 41), (Berlin: Hertie School of Governance, 2009), website:, p. 3.

(81.) Ibid.

(82.) Knut Halvorsen and Steinar Stjerno, Work, Oil, and Welfare: The Welfare State in Norway (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2008).

(83.) Mary Hilson, The Nordic Model: Scandinavia Since 1945 (London: Reaktion Books, 2008), p. 34.

(84.) Oyvind Osterud, "Introduction: The Peculiarities of Norway," West European Politics 28 (2005), 705-720.

(85.) Terry Karl, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States.

(86.) David Arter, Democracy in Scandinavia: Consensual, Majoritarian, or Mixed? (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006).

(87.) Mark Thurber, David Hults, and Patrick Heller, "The Limits of Institutional Design in Oil Sector Governance: Exporting the Norwegian Model," (conference paper), (New Orleans: ISA Annual Convention, 2010), website:

(88.) United Nations Development Program, Human Development Report 2007/2008 Fighting Climate Change: Human solidarity in a divided world, (agency report), (New York: United Nations, 2008).

(89.) James Robinson, "State Formation and Governance in Botswana," (with Neil Parsons), Journal of African Economies 15 (1996), 115.

(90.) Ibid., p. 118.

(91.) Richard White, Livestock Development and Pastoral Production on Communal Rangeland in Botswana (Gaborone, Botswana: The Botswana Society, 1993).

(92.) Adrian Cullis and Cathy Watson, Winners and Losers: Privatising the Commons in Botswana (Stevenage, UK: International Institute for Environment and Development, 2005).

(93.) Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James Robinson, "An African Success Story: Botswana," in D. Rodrik (ed.), In Search of Prosperity: Analytic Narratives on Economic Growth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003) pp. 80-122.

(94.) Balefi Tsie, "The Political Context of Botswana's Economic Performance," Journal of Southern African Studies 22 (1996), 599-616.

(95.) Thad Dunning, "Resource Dependence, Economic Dependence, and Political Stability," The Journal of Conflict Resolution 49 (2005), 451-482.

(96.) Scott Beaulier, "Limited Government and Economic Growth in Botswana," (with John Subrick), Journal of Private Enterprise 23 (2007), 51-64.

(97.) Botswana's 2007 HDI, at .694, was amongst the highest in sub-Saharan Africa but substantially lower than that of most other countries with per capita incomes similar to Botswana's ($13,992 in 2009). Mexico, Malaysia, Latvia, Chile, and Argentina had per capita incomes within $1,000 of Botswana's but had 2007 HDIs of .854, .829, .866, .878, and .866 respectively. This data is according to International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook: Rebalancing Growth, (agency report), (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2010).

(98.) Balefi Tsie, "The Political Context of Botswana's Economic Performance."

(99.) Thad Dunning, "Resource Dependence, Economic Dependence, and Political Stability."

(100.) Transparency International, "Corruption Perceptions Index 2011," website:

By Michael Friedson, Leslie-Ann Bolden and Juan E. Corradi *

* Michael Friedson is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at New York University; Leslie-Ann Bolden received a Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University in Fall Semester 2012.; and Juan E. Corradi is Professor of Sociology at New York University.
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Author:Friedson, Michael; Bolden, Leslie-Ann; Corradi, Juan E.
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Date:Sep 22, 2013
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