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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Petroleum has been key to Nigeria’s political economy since the 1970s, giving rise to a syndrome called the “resource curse.” This includes a revenue monoculture, procyclical policies, endemic corruption, political uncertainty, communal tensions, and heightened conflict. The resource curse concept is organized around shifting elite bargains for the mediation of state-controlled rents. Analyses of the resource curse emphasize structural continuity, yet the syndrome is not immutable, as political interests and institutions may lead to different outcomes. Nigeria’s two petroleum booms illustrate the influence of political factors. Both were framed by abrupt windfalls, volatility, and equally sudden declines in revenue. While the first boom culminated in prolonged economic decline, the second was followed by transient recession and resilient performance in the non-oil economy. This chapter argues that electoral politics and civic participation have shifted elite incentives toward more responsive policies, though these factors are insufficient to shift the political settlement toward an inclusive developmental model.

Keywords: resource curse, petroleum, petrostate, patronage, oil, natural resources, development, Dutch disease, economy, democratization

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