Fluctuations in the price of oil and the contemporaneous political changes in oil-producing countries have raised an important question about the link between oil rents, political institutions, and civil liberties. This article presents a simple model of the relationship between resource income and political freedom and, using an instrumental variables approach, estimates the causal effect of shocks to oil revenues on levels of democracy. Using a new data set, multiple measures of democracy, and various specifications, I find that the effect of oil price shocks is larger than might be expected and on the order of the effects found from changes in gross domestic product.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management