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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.