The First Law of Petropolitics

17 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2012

See all articles by Romain T. Wacziarg

Romain T. Wacziarg

UCLA Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2012


We examine empirically the relationship between crude oil prices and the ebb and flow of democratic institutions, in order to test the hypothesis that high oil prices undermine democracy and sustain autocracy. We use a variety of time series and panel data methods over a wide range of country subsamples and time periods, finding strictly no evidence in favour of this so‐called ‘First Law of Petropolitics’ (Friedman 2006).

Suggested Citation

Wacziarg, Romain T., The First Law of Petropolitics (October 2012). Economica, Vol. 79, Issue 316, pp. 641-657, 2012. Available at SSRN: or

Romain T. Wacziarg (Contact Author)

UCLA Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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