Why is the Resource Curse an Obstacle to National Prosperity? (Worksheet)

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Why is the Resource Curse an Obstacle to National Prosperity? (Worksheet)

Why do some countries that are rich with natural resources have so many impoverished people? This phenomenon is known as the resource curse (sometimes called the resource trap) and can be attributed to the mismanagement of extractive industries and their profits. Former Carnegie Council Fellow Leif Wenar explains that countries with vast natural resources are "[1] more prone to authoritarian governments, [2] they are at a higher risk for civil war and coup attempts, [3] they exhibit lower rates of growth."

Why does the resource curse occur? How can we identify countries that are susceptible to it? The excerpt found *here* answers these questions and more. Although the original piece was written over a decade ago, its information concerning the resource curse still holds true, particularly for the countries given as examples: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Equatorial Guinea.

This worksheet is great for a comparative government or political science course.

Photo: Gates of an Oil Refinery in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. CREDIT: Wish for Africa

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Lesson tags: 
Advanced Placement (AP)