A Resource Belief-Curse? Oil and Individualism

35 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2009 Last revised: 8 Sep 2013

See all articles by Rafael Di Tella

Rafael Di Tella

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Juan Dubra

University of Montevideo - Department of Economics

Robert MacCulloch

Imperial College London - Tanaka Business School

Date Written: December 2008

Abstract

We study the correlation between a belief concerning individualism and a measure of luck in the US during the period 1983-2004. The measure of beliefs is the answer to a question related to whether the poor should be helped by the government or if they should help themselves, while the measure of luck is the share of the oil industry in the state's economy multiplied by the price of oil. The correlation is negative, suggesting that more reliance on luck is correlated with less individualism. We provide three short models that help interpret this correlation. One implication of this finding is that societies that depend heavily on oil, and perhaps natural resources more generally, will experience a heavier demand for government intervention. We argue that if a government cares about the impact of its natural resource policies on the demand of government intervention more generally, it should take this effect into account.

Suggested Citation

Di Tella, Rafael and Dubra, Juan and MacCulloch, Robert, A Resource Belief-Curse? Oil and Individualism (December 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14556. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1327229

Rafael Di Tella (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States
617-495-5048 (Phone)
617-496-5985 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/rditella/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Juan Dubra

University of Montevideo - Department of Economics ( email )

Prudencio de Pena 2440
Montevideo, CP 11600
Uruguay
5982 707 4461 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http:\\www2.um.edu.uy\dubraj

Robert MacCulloch

Imperial College London - Tanaka Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

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