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Power Grab
Political Survival through Extractive Resource Nationalization

$99.99 (C)

Part of Business and Public Policy

  • Date Published: No date available
  • availability: Not yet published - available from
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108478892

$ 99.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • For rulers whose territories are blessed with extractive resources -- such as petroleum, metals, and minerals that will power the clean energy transition -- converting natural wealth into fiscal wealth is key. Squandering the opportunity to secure these revenues will guarantee short tenures, while capitalizing on windfalls and managing the resulting wealth will fortify the foundations of enduring rule. This book argues that leaders nationalize extractive resources to extend the duration of their power. By taking control of the means of production and establishing state-owned enterprises, leaders capture revenues that might otherwise flow to private firms, and use this increased capital to secure political support. Using a combination of case studies and cross-national statistical analysis with novel techniques, Mahdavi sketches the contours of a crucial political gamble: nationalize and reap immediate gains while risking future prosperity, or maintain private operations, thereby passing on revenue windfalls but securing long-term fiscal streams.

    • Proposes a new theory on the rise and fall of political leaders in extractive-resource economies, providing insights into modern political paradoxes, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela
    • Combines statistical analysis with interviews and archival records on national oil companies, offering evidence from multiple perspectives for readers versed in either quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method approaches
    • Unpacks the opaque politics surrounding state-owned enterprises and will appeal to readers interested in learning deep insights about the world's largest companies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Political survival is essential to rulers. In this thoughtful and far-ranging new book, Paasha Mahdavi shows exactly how rulers use control over energy and mining companies to advance their own political survival – often at the peril of their own people and the planet.' David Victor, Professor of International Relations, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego

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    Product details

    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108478892
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
    • contains: 29 b/w illus. 16 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from
  • Table of Contents

    1. The puzzle of extractive resource nationalization
    2. The theory of political survival through nationalization
    3. Defining and measuring operational nationalization
    4. Why nationalize? Evidence from national oil companies around the world
    5. NOCs, oil revenues, and leadership survival
    6. The dynamics of nationalization in Pahlavi Iran
    7. Conclusion: the implications of nationalization.

  • Author

    Paasha Mahdavi, University of California, Santa Barbara
    Paasha Mahdavi is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research on energy governance and political economy has appeared in Comparative Political Studies, Nature Energy, and World Politics, among other journals, and has received media attention from The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Mahdavi earned his M.S. in Statistics and Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA. He has held fellowships at the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy, the Payne Institute, and the World Economic Forum, and currently serves as Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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