PEROUSE DE MONTCLOS, Marc-Antoine (2014) Oil curse, state instability, and violence in developing countries: theoretical lessons for Nigeria
Oil production in Nigeria is often believed to bring economic failure, political instability, the inability to democratise, high levels of corruption, and violence in the form of rising crime, interstate wars, and internal conflicts. Such an assumption is quite prevalent amongst aid practitioners, journalists, activists, and some academics.
Yet there are many exceptions in developing countries, and this paper empirically criticizes the ‘resource curse’ theory by focusing on the relationship between oil-producing states and war. It first examines contradictions and correlations that do not demonstrate causality. To escape economic determinism, it then suggests paying more attention to political contexts and historical timeframes, especially when authoritarian regimes existed before oil production. Sometimes, the oil rent can indeed exacerbate conflicts. But it is never a single cause. A quick reading of averages and correlations can be misleading in this regard. The conclusion thus calls for further qualitative investigation.
Oil – Resource curse – War – Crime – Dutch Disease – Democratization – Development