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Do Bureaucrats Contribute to the Resource Curse? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in New Oil States

Sigman, Rachel; Harris, Adam S; Meyer-Sahling, Jan-Hinrik; Mikkelsen, Kim Sass; Schuster, Christian; (2022) Do Bureaucrats Contribute to the Resource Curse? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in New Oil States. The Journal of Development Studies pp. 1-17. 10.1080/00220388.2021.2013468. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The resource curse literature argues that oil production reshapes the fiscal contract between citizens and the state: politicians become less responsive to citizen taxpayers and more likely to use public revenues for their own benefit. This paper examines whether and how bureaucrats influence this breakdown of the fiscal contract. Analysing results of a survey experiment conducted with government employees in Ghana and Uganda, we find that, when primed to think about oil revenue, bureaucrats do not generally express attitudes indicating that they contribute to the resource curse. Although oil revenue does lead some Ghanaian bureaucrats to become less interested in responding to taxpayers, this finding does not operate as predicted, i.e. by bureaucrats expressing greater partiality towards the ruling elite. Instead, we attribute this outcome to ‘disgruntled employees’ – political outsiders with low salaries – who, unlikely to benefit from oil revenue, become disaffected from citizen service. The results shed new light on processes through which resource extraction changes state institutions.

Type: Article
Title: Do Bureaucrats Contribute to the Resource Curse? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in New Oil States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2021.2013468
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388.2021.2013468
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Resource curse; Africa; bureaucrats; accountability
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10143967
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