Argues that natural resource wealth and commodity booms can be beneficial for state building, going against the orthodox understanding of the 'resource curse'.
Contains six case studies showing that certain types of political coalitions (i.e., export-oriented coalitions) can avoid the resource curse, even in the context of weak institutions.
State Building in Boom Times argues that commodity booms and coalitional politics are central to understanding the state building variation within and across Latin America and Africa. It shows how resource booms can trigger the provision of new public goods and institutional strengthening and thus help countries expand their state capacity. But these possibilities hinge on coalitional politics, as seen through six cases. Countries ruled by export-oriented coalitions (Argentina, Chile, and Mauritius) expanded their state capacity as a direct result of commodity booms. But countries in which exporters were politically marginalized (Colombia, Ghana, and Nigeria) missed analogous state building opportunities because ruling coalitions preyed upon export wealth, rather than promoting export interests via state building. The coalitional basis of these divergent outcomes suggests that, contrary to the prevailing belief in a resource curse, natural resource wealth does not necessarily dispose countries to low state capacity. Instead, export-oriented coalitions can harness boom times for developmental gains, even in the context of weak institutions. This finding warrants reappraising some widespread presumptions about the relationship between resource wealth and state building, as well as the public policies that are commonly proposed for developing countries to manage their natural resource wealth.
256 pages | 235x156mm
978-0-19-936495-4 | Hardback | 24 July 2014
Also available as: eBook