NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Oil and Democracy in Russia

Daniel Treisman

NBER Working Paper No. 15667
Issued in January 2010
NBER Program(s):   POL

Russia is often considered a perfect example of the so-called “resource curse”—the argument that natural resource wealth tends to undermine democracy. Given high oil prices, some observers see the country as virtually condemned to authoritarian government for the foreseeable future. Reexamining various data, I show that such fears are exaggerated. Evidence from around the world suggests that for countries like Russia with an established oil industry, even large increases in the scale of mineral incomes have only a minor effect on the political regime. In addition, Russia—a country with an industrialized economy, a highly educated, urbanized population, and an oil sector that remains majority private-owned—is unlikely to be susceptible to most of the hypothesized pernicious effects of resource dependence.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15667

Published: Daniel Treisman. "Rethinking Russia : Is Russia Cursed by Oil?" Vol. 63, No. 2, Spring/Summer 2010. Page 85-102

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