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Crude Democracy
Natural Resource Wealth and Political Regimes

$35.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: September 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521730754

$ 35.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • This book challenges the conventional wisdom that natural resource wealth promotes autocracy. Oil and other forms of mineral wealth can promote both authoritarianism and democracy, the book argues, but they do so through different mechanisms; an understanding of these different mechanisms can help elucidate when either the authoritarian or democratic effects of resource wealth will be relatively strong. Exploiting game-theoretic tools and statistical modeling as well as detailed country case studies and drawing on fieldwork in Latin America and Africa, this book builds and tests a theory that explains political variation across resource-rich states. It will be read by scholars studying the political effects of natural resource wealth in many regions, as well as by those interested in the emergence and persistence of democratic regimes.

    • Challenges the conventional wisdom that natural resources promote autocracy
    • Draws on fieldwork and detailed case studies of Latin American and African countries
    • Uses cutting-edge game-theoretic and statistical tools to explain the emergence and persistence of democracy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Thad Dunning has produced an outstanding book, founded on a theoretically-sophisticated re-evaluation of the popular and academic consensus linking oil and resource wealth to political authoritarianism. By showing – both in game theoretic and empirical terms – how resource wealth can promote both democracy and authoritarianism, albeit through separate mechanisms, Dunning provides the first account that simultaneously explains the well-known cases of oil-based authoritarianism as well as the oft-overlooked resource-rich democracies. It is an analytical tour-de-force that will likely set the bar for future studies of resource politics, and through its innovative marriage of formal, statistical, and qualitative tools, for comparative politics more generally.”
    -Marcus Kurtz, Ohio State University

    “Is oil good or bad for democracy? Read this book and find out why the wrangling is over. Social science meets comparative politics, at last.”
    -James Robinson, Harvard University

    “This innovative book brings a new level of sophistication to the study of resource wealth and democracy. Dunning makes a compelling argument – using case studies, statistical analysis, and formal models – that resource dependence will have sharply different effects on governance, depending on a country’s prior level of inequality: where inequality is low, oil dependence may hinder democracy, but where it is high, oil dependence may foster democracy. This is a wonderfully nuanced analysis that will have a major impact on the field, and should be widely read.”
    -Michael Ross, University of California, Los Angeles

    “Crude Democracy shatters the widely-held view that natural resource wealth breeds authoritarianism. With a potent blend of in-depth fieldwork, formal models, statistical analysis, and small-N comparisons, Dunning carefully elucidates the contrasting political consequences of natural resources, showing that they can surprisingly have a democracy-promoting effect. The result is a work of first-class scholarship that anyone interested in development and democracy needs to read.”
    -Richard Snyder, Brown University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521730754
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • contains: 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Does oil promote democracy?
    2. The foundations of rentier states
    3. Resource rents and the political regime
    4. Statistical tests on rents and the regime
    5. The democratic effect of rents
    6. Rentier democracy in comparative perspective
    7. Theoretical extensions
    8. Conclusion: whither the resource curse?

  • Author

    Thad Dunning, Yale University, Connecticut
    Thad Dunning is Assistant Professor of Political Science and a research fellow at Yale's Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies as well as the Institution for Social and Policy Studies. He studies comparative politics, political economy, international relations, and methodology. His book, Crude Democracy: Natural Resource Wealth and Political Regimes, studies the democratic and authoritarian effects of natural resource wealth. The dissertation on which the book is based won the Mancur Olson Prize of the Political Economy Section of the American Political Science Association, for the best dissertation completed in the previous two years. Dunning conducts field research in Latin America and Africa and has written on a range of methodological topics, including econometric corrections for selection effects and the use of natural experiments in the social sciences.

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