The Political Economy of Black Panther's Wakanda

26 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2018

See all articles by J. Robert Subrick

J. Robert Subrick

James Madison University- Department of Economics

Date Written: 2018


Black Panther is the hereditary leader of the African nation of Wakanda, a small, natural resource-rich country, which lacks access to the sea. Historically the political leadership has tried to hide Wakanda’s existence from other countries which has limited its economic integration with the rest of the world. In spite of its geographic endowments, notably the incredibly rare ore vibranium, Wakanda has attained unprecedented technological development. This chapter explores the political economy of Wakanda and its leader, Black Panther. After explaining the origins of Black Panther, the chapter turns to the economic puzzle of Wakanda by exploring the geographic and economic implications of isolation. This is followed by an investigation into the way Wakanda has avoided the resource curse that has plagued so many other countries. Next, a comparison is made between Wakanda and the nation of Botswana. While there are some telling similarities, the lack of democracy in Wakanda is a glaring difference. It will discuss how it has developed high-levels of technology that help advance the Black Panther’s dictatorship. Finally, it will address the potential for democracy to emerge in Wakanda. Black Panther offers an opportunity to understand the role of political institutions in affecting the long-run economic, political, and technological development of a country.

Suggested Citation

Subrick, J. Robert, The Political Economy of Black Panther's Wakanda (2018). Available at SSRN: or

J. Robert Subrick (Contact Author)

James Madison University- Department of Economics ( email )

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540-568-3083 (Phone)

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