The Devil's Excrement as Social Cement: Natural Resources and Political Terror, 1980–2002

Journal article

de Soysa, Indra & Helga Malmin Binningsbø (2009) The Devil's Excrement as Social Cement: Natural Resources and Political Terror, 1980–2002, International Social Science Journal 57 (1): 21–32.

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Using a direct measure of repression of dissent, we find ample evidence to suggest that energy and mineral wealth strongly predict higher levels of political terror, results that are both statistically and substantively large. Oil-rich and mineral-rich countries contain higher levels of political terror regardless of the level of autocracy, the incidence of civil and international war and sundry controls. The results are robust to different measures of resource wealth, alternative measures of repression, testing methods and several model specifications. The quality of economic governance, measured as the level of economic freedom, has strong negative effects on political terror and conditions the effects of resource wealth in the direction of more humane governance. Our results suggest several entry points for global and local policy-makers that seek to extirpate the curse of natural wealth.

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