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Clean Trade in Natural Resources

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 April 2011


The “resource curse” can strike countries that derive a large portion of their national income from exporting high-value natural resources, such as oil, gas, metals, and gems. Resource-exporting countries are subject to four overlapping curses: they are more prone to authoritarianism, they tend to suffer more corruption, they are at a higher risk for civil wars, and they exhibit greater economic instability.

Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 2011

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1 This article discusses the curses of authoritarianism, corruption, and civil conflict, leaving the economic phenomena mostly aside. For references to the literature relevant to this article, please see the background paper, available at

2 All of these countries are significant resource exporters except Afghanistan, Eritrea, North Korea, and Somalia.