1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Now online: Videos from UNRISD seminar The Resource Curse? Mineral Rents and the Financing of Social Policy

21 Jan 2013

Presentations from UNRISD seminar The Resource Curse? Mineral Rents and the Financing of Social Policy, which took place in Geneva in December 2012, are now available online.


Katja Hujo, Research Coordinator, UNRISD

Samuel Asfaha, Economist, International Training Centre of the ILO, Turin

Alfredo Calcagno, Head, Macroeconomic and Development Branch, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD, Geneva

Audio Recording

For the full length audio recording of this seminar, download the audio file from the event page (see Media Files on the right hand side) or via the UNRISD iTunes podcast directory.

About the Seminar

Natural resource wealth and successful development do not always go hand in hand. Many countries with abundant mineral, land or forest resources are actually low- or lower middle-income countries with high poverty rates, low human development and sluggish growth. Even with booming commodity prices, doubts linger about the potential for mineral-rich countries to achieve more sustainable development outcomes. This phenomenon is often referred to as the paradox of plenty or the resource curse. But why does it appear to be a disadvantage to base an economy on extractive industries or commodity production? History has shown that many of today's developed countries initiated, developed and sustained their economic and social development on just such a basis. 

Lessons from UNRISD research show that development performance is not simply linked to resource endowment but is the outcome of more complex processes of "employing" resources. Much depends on the conditions in which resources are harnessed and the ways in which they are brought into increasingly globalized markets. What constrains development lies not in what countries have, but rather in what they lack: institutions, financial leverage, human capital, appropriate policies and a favourable global context.

A video on the topic is also available in Spanish from a presentation held by UNRISD Research Coordinator Katja Hujo at FLACSO in Buenos Aires on 30 May 2012 .