Michael L. Ross

Michael L. Ross
University of California, Los Angeles | UCLA · Department of Political Science

About

53
Publications
50,573
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10,334
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2001 - present
University of California, Los Angeles
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (53)
Article
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The “resource curse” is often understood to imply poor growth in the non-resource sectors of the economy, but research into the diversification performance of resource-rich countries is limited. This paper surveys recent evidence and identifies empirical patterns in the economic diversification of resource-rich countries. Diversification is measure...
Article
Oil-exporting countries are often advised to diversify their economies, yet surprisingly little is known about how this can be done. Research on this issue has been constrained by missing and inconsistent data, selection bias, and the use of uninformative measures of diversification. This paper uses a novel measure of export concentration from the...
Article
Evidence has shown that petroleum wealth is associated with less transparency and at the same time less tax collection. In this paper, we find that the two issues are linked through the citizens’ tax evasion behavior. We develop a model to explain this link and conduct extensive empirical tests of its validity. The explanation is that officials tra...
Article
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To reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, many governments will have to reform their energy policies. These policies are diicult to measure with any precision. As a result, it is unclear whether progress has been made towards important energy policy reforms, such as reducing fossil fuel subsidies. We use new data to measure net taxe...
Article
The more that states depend on oil exports, the less cooperative they become: they grow less likely to join intergovernmental organizations, to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of international judicial bodies, and to agree to binding arbitration for investment disputes. This pattern is robust to the use of country and year fixed effects, to alte...
Data
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Global dataset of oil and natural gas production, prices, exports, and net exports. Oil production and prices data are for 1932-2014 (2014 data are incomplete); gas production and prices are for 1955-2014; export and net export data are for 1986-2013. Country codes have been modified from earlier versions to conform to Correlates of War (COW) and Q...
Article
Since 2001, hundreds of academic studies have examined the "political resource curse," meaning the claim that natural resource wealth tends to adversely affect a country's governance. There is now robust evidence that one type of mineral wealth, petroleum, has at least three harmful effects: It tends to make authoritarian regimes more durable, to i...
Book
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This book highlights how transparency can help realize the benefits and reduce negative externalities associated with the extractive industries in the region. A central message is that high-quality and well-managed information is critical to ensure the transparent and effective governance of the sector. The insights from experiences in the region c...
Article
Mineral wealth tends to make countries less democratic and more likely to experience a civil war. Many countries also find it hard to use their natural resource revenues to make high-quality, growth-enhancing investments. I argue that these problems are caused, in part, by the unusual qualities of resource revenues their great size, their non-tax s...
Article
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The claim that oil wealth tends to block democratic transitions has recently been challenged by Haber and Menaldo (2011), who use historical data going back to 1800 and conclude there is no ‘resource curse.’ We revisit their data and models, and show they might be correct for the period before the 1970s, but since about 1980 there has been a pronou...
Article
Oil-exporting states occupy a paradoxical position in the international system. Economically, they are highly globalized, as large flows of goods, services, capital, people, and information travel across their borders. They are also the source of the world’s single most valuable commodity, and hence influential. Yet politically, they are strikingly...
Article
Since 2001, hundreds of academic studies have examined the “resource curse,” meaning the claim that natural resource wealth tends to perversely affect a country's governance. There is now robust evidence that one type of mineral wealth, petroleum, has at least three harmful effects: it tends to make authoritarian regimes more durable, to increase c...
Article
My 2008 article suggested that oil wealth, but not Islam, has impeded progress towards gender equality in the Middle East. Groh and Rothschild re-examine one part of my study, which reported a statistical correlation between oil rents and female labor force participation; they argue that the "deep cultural history" of the Arabian Peninsula offers a...
Book
Countries that are rich in petroleum have less democracy, less economic stability, and more frequent civil wars than countries without oil. What explains this oil curse? And can it be fixed? In this groundbreaking analysis, Michael L. Ross looks at how developing nations are shaped by their mineral wealth--and how they can turn oil from a curse int...
Article
No state with serious oil wealth has ever transformed into a democracy. Oil lets dictators buy off citizens, keep their finances secret, and spend wildly on arms. To prevent the "resource curse" from dashing the hopes of the Arab Spring, Washington should push for more transparent oil markets-and curb its own oil addiction.
Article
Full-text available
The recent political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa region have exposed growing concerns about conflict risk, political stability, and reform prospects across its societies. Given the prevalence of oil and gas resource endowments in the region, which a voluminous literature suggests can be associated with adverse development conseque...
Article
The article offers opinions about the relationship between oil production and democracy in Middle Eastern countries in 2011. The development of the oil industry in the 1970s and 1980s and the shift from production in Western countries to Middle Eastern countries are discussed. Examples of autocrats such as Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya and Saddam Hus...
Article
How does a country’s mineral wealth affect the transparency of the government’s budget? Among democracies, a country’s mineral wealth is not convincingly related to the transparency of its government. But among autocracies, greater oil wealth is correlated with less fiscal transparency, while greater non-fuel mineral wealth is paradoxically associa...
Article
In Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, oil-producing countries have civil wars at a significantly higher rate than countries without oil. Is there also a link between oil and armed rebellion in Latin America? I argue the answer is "yes," but with an important qualification. In the rest of the world, oil heightens the danger of both "national" confli...
Article
Full-text available
Michael L. Ross is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); he is also the Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. He was previously Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1996-2001) and Visiting Scholar at the World Bank (2000). In 2003, he was a mem...
Article
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The world has grown much more peaceful over the past 15 years --except for oil-rich countries. Oil wealth often wreaks havoc on a country's economy and politics, helps fund insurgents, and aggravates ethnic grievances. And with oil ever more in demand, the problems it spawns are likely to spread further. MICHAEL L. ROSS is Associate Professor of Po...
Article
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Women have made less progress toward gender equality in the Middle East than in any other region. Many observers claim this is due to the region's Islamic traditions. I suggest that oil, not Islam, is at fault; and that oil production also explains why women lag behind in many other countries. Oil production reduces the number of women in the labor...
Article
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Studies of natural resource wealth and civil war have been hampered by measurement error, endogeneity, lack of robustness, and uncertainty about causal mechanisms. This paper develops new measures and new tests to address these problems. It has four main findings. First, the likelihood of civil war in countries that produce oil, gas, and diamonds r...
Article
Many scholars claim that democracy improves the welfare of the poor. This article uses data on infant and child mortality to challenge this claim. Cross-national studies tend to exclude from their samples nondemocratic states that have performed well; this leads to the mistaken inference that nondemocracies have worse records than democracies. Once...
Article
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Many scholars claim that democracy reduces a country's infant and child mortality rates, and by extension, improves the lives of the poor. I argue this is incorrect: even though democracies produce more public goods than nondemocracies, they have little or no effect on infant and child mortality rates. I show that previous studies linking democracy...
Article
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for insightful comments and ideas; to José Cheibub, Ken Hill, Gareth Jones, and Jeff Sachs for sharing their data; and to Tatiana Rizova and Ani Sarkissan for research assistance.
Article
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Since the late 1990s, there has been a flood of research on natural resources and civil war. This article reviews 14 recent cross-national econometric studies, and many qualitative studies, that cast light on the relationship between natural resources and civil war. It suggests that collectively they imply four underlying regularities: first, oil i...
Article
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Recent studies have found that natural resources and civil war are highly correlated. Yet the causal mechanisms behind the correlation are not well understood, in part because data on civil wars is scarce and of poor quality. In this article I examine thirteen recent civil wars to explore the mechanisms behind the resource-conflict correlation. I d...
Article
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Word count (including footnotes, references, and abstract): 8,834 Special thanks to Graham Davis, Daniel Hersson, Marisa Kellam and Keith Slack for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
Article
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Does their need for greater tax revenue force governments to democratize? Most research on contemporary democratization says little about the effects of taxation. Yet there are good reasons to believe that taxation led to representation in the past: representative government first came about in early modern Europe when monarchs were compelled to re...
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Working draft; comments welcome. Please do not cite or quote without permission.
Article
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Some scholars suggest that the Middle East's oil wealth helps explain its failure to democratize. This article examines three aspects of this “oil impedes democracy” claim. First, is it true? Does oil have a consistendy antidemocratic effect on states, once other factors are accounted for? Second, can this claim be generalized? Is it true only in t...
Article
Middle East scholars often suggest that the region's absence of democracy is in part due to its oil wealth. This paper examines three aspects of the "oil-impedes-democracy" claim. First, is it true? Does oil have a consistently anti-democratic effect on states, once other factors -- such as the effects of income and Islamic culture -- are accounted...
Article
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How does a state's natural resource wealth influence its economic development? For the past fifty years, versions of this question have been explored by both economists and political scientists. New research suggests that resource wealth tends to harm economic growth, yet there is little agreement on why this occurs. This article reviews a wide ran...
Article
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What should governments in mineral- rich states do about the gap be- tween rich and poor populations (vertical in e qual ity), and the gap be- tween mineral- rich and mineral- poor regions (horizontal in e qual ity)? This chapter looks at how mineral wealth can affect vertical and hori- zontal in e qual ity, and what governments can do about it. It...
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Terms of use: This chapter may be used free of charge for educational and non-commercial purposes. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) only, and do not necessarily represent those of the sponsoring organizations.

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