Resource wealth and political regimes in Africa

Nathan Jensen, Leonard Wantchekon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

405 Scopus citations


Political economists point to the levels of economic development, poverty, and income inequality as the most important determinants of political regimes. The authors present empirical evidence suggesting a robust and negative correlation between the presence of a sizable natural resource sector and the level of democracy in Africa. They argue that resource abundance not only is an important determinant of democratic transition but also partially determines the success of democratic consolidation in Africa. The results illuminate the fact that post-Cold War democratic reforms have been successful only in resource-poor countries such as Benin, Mali, and Madagascar. The authors argue that resource-rich countries such as Nigeria and Gabon can become democratic only if they introduce strong mechanisms of vertical and horizontal accountability within the state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-841
Number of pages26
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Africa
  • Democratic consolidation
  • Democratization
  • Resource curse


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