James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth
It is striking how often countries that are
rich with oil, minerals or fertile land have
failed to grow more rapidly than those without.
Angola, Nigeria and Sudan are all awash
in petroleum, yet most of their citizens are
bitterly poor. Meanwhile, East Asian economies,
including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore
and Hong Kong, have achieved Western-
level standards of living despite being
rocky islands (or peninsulas) with virtually
no exportable natural resources.
This is the phenomenon known to economists
as the “natural resources curse.” The evidence
for its existence is more than anecdotal.
The curse shows up in econometric tests of
the determinants of economic performance
across a comprehensive sample of countries.
Frankel, Jeffrey A. "The Curse: Why Natural Resources Are Not Always a Good Thing." The Milken Institute Review. October 2011, 28-39.