Davis and Tilton - The Resource Curse: Natural Resources Forum

Davis, G. A., and Tilton J. E., “The Resource Curse,Natural Resources Forum 29 (2005) 233-242. 


The authors examine the assumption that mining activities in mineral rich countries directly contribute to economic development. They note however that over the past two decades, a more negative view of mining has emerged that questions the positive relationship between mineral extraction and economic development. The impetus for the alternative view came from empirical studies suggesting that countries where mining is important have not grown as rapidly as other countries. They explored more recent studies which have considered the possible reasons behind the disappointing performance of many mineral producing countries and find that while the central point of contention between the conventional and alternative views — namely, whether or not mining usually promotes economic development — remains unresolved, there is widespread agreement that rich mineral deposits provide developing countries with development opportunities. These opportunities have in some instances been used wisely to promote development; and in other instances, have been misused, hurting development. The authors note in this regard that a consensus on this issue is not the solution to the mining problems in developing countries. They conclude that the appropriate public policy question is not - should we or should we not promote mining in developing countries, but rather where should we encourage it and how can we ensure that it contributes as much as possible to economic development and poverty alleviation.


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