Foreign aid and political instability in resource-rich countries

Chiara Ravetti, Mare Sarr, Tim Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In this article we examine whether foreign aid and natural resources can act as a double curse on developing countries with poor governance. We hypothesize that affording external liquidity to dictators based on their resource wealth reduces the political incentives for long term investment and enhances the looting of the country and more frequent irregular exit of leaders from their office. We then examine the empirical evidence for such a link between international aid flows and government irregular turnover in resource-rich countries. We find that the interaction between natural resources and most forms of international aid combines with political instability in the case of non-democratic regimes. In turn, this combination of foreign aid, natural resources and political instability is associated with lower growth performance. Some types of less fungible aid (notably humanitarian) and aid grants that do not build indebtedness do not seem to have this effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-294
Number of pages18
JournalResources Policy
StatePublished - Oct 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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