Auty (1993) and Sachs and Warner (1997) reignited the line of argument of the resource curse: the idea that natural resource wealth has negative net effects on the development of nations. However, the result has been found to be highly dependent on the types of variables used to represent natural resource wealth (Brunnschweiler, 2007) and similar questions can raised about variables used to represent being “cursed”. In this paper we pursue the hunt for better variables by looking at the relationship between average income from natural resources per person and a wide array of key development indicators: Adjusted National Net Income, GDP per capita, an aggregate of services and industrialized goods, inequality measured by the Gini index, Poverty, the Human Development Index, the Prosperity Index, the Social Progress Index and the Fragile State Index. We do this on a global scale between 1970 and 2010. On the contrary, we find that natural resource wealth is positively linked to development. We suggest, alternatively, that much of the actual cases where abundant natural resources hurt nations have been cases of common theft by tyrants, often backed by imperial powers.
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