Michael L. Ross
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You can also view these publications on Google Scholar or view my CV here.


The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations
Princeton University Press, 2012

Countries that are rich in petroleum have less democracy, less economic stability, and more frequent civil wars than countries without oil. What explains this oil curse? And can it be fixed? In this groundbreaking analysis, Michael L. Ross looks at how developing nations are shaped by their mineral wealth--and how they can turn oil from a curse into a blessing.

Also published in Russian (русский), Portuguese (português), Japanese (日本語), and Arabic (العربية)

Timber Booms and Institutional Breakdown in Southeast Asia [Amazon]
Cambridge University Press, 2001

Between 1950 and 2000, the trade in tropical timber in the Pacific Rim was dominated by Indonesia, The Philippines, and the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. This book draws on archival materials, and the theory of rent-seeking, to explain how and why each state’s forestry institutions broke down in the face of global shocks to the price of timber. Translated into Japanese (日本語)


Where has democracy helped the poor? Democratic transitions and early-life mortality at the country level
with Antonio Pedro Ramos and Martiniano Jose Flores
Social Science and Medicine, 2020

What Drives Successful Economic Diversification in Resource-Rich Countries?
with Addisu A. Lashitew and Eric Werker
World Bank Research Observer, 2020

What do we know about export diversification in oil-producing countries?
Extractive Industries and Society, 2019

Kleptocracy and Tax Evasion Under Resource Abundance
with Hamid Mohtadi, Uchechukwu Jarrett, and Stefan Ruediger
Economics and Politics, 2019

Global progress and backsliding on gasoline taxes and subsidies
with Chad Hazlett and Paasha Mahdavi
Nature Energy, 2017

Oil and International Cooperation
with Erik Voeten
International Studies Quarterly, 60:1 2016

What Have We Learned About the Resource Curse?
Annual Review of Political Science, 2015

The Big Oil Change: a closer look at the Haber-Menaldo analysis
with Jørgen Juel Andersen. Online appendix
Comparative Political Studies, 47:7 2014

The Political Economy of Petroleum Wealth: some policy alternatives [external link]
Middle East Development Journal, 5:2 2013

What's So Special About the Arabian Peninsula?
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 7:1 2012

Does Oil Wealth Hurt Women?
Politics and Gender, 5:4 2009

Oil, Islam, and Women
Winner of the 2009 Heinz Eulau Award for best article in the APSR
American Political Science Review, 102:2 2008

Is Democracy Good for the Poor?
American Journal of Political Science, October 2006

A Closer Look at Oil, Diamonds, and Civil War
Annual Review of Political Science, 2006

What Do We Know About Natural Resources and Civil War?
Journal of Peace Research, May 2004

How Do Natural Resources Influence Civil War? Evidence from 13 Case Studies
IO, Winter 2004

Does Taxation Lead to Representation?
British Journal of Political Science, 34, 2004

Announcement, Credibility, and Turnout in Popular Rebellions
with Ravi Bhavnani
Journal of Conflict Resolution, June 2003

Does Oil Hinder Democracy?
World Politics, April 2001

The Political Economy of the Resource Curse
World Politics, January 1999

Book Chapters

The Politics of the Resource Curse

in Oxford Handbook on the Politics of Development
Nicolas Van de Walle and Carol Lancaster eds., Oxford University Press, 2018

Conflict and Natural Resources: Is the Latin American and Caribbean Region Different from the Rest of the World?

in Transparent Governance in an Age of Abundance: experiences from the extractive industries in Latin America and the Caribbean
Juan Cruz Vierya and Malaika Masson, eds., Inter-American Development Bank, 2015

Horizontal Inequality, Decentralizing the Distribution of Natural Resource Revenues, and Peace
with Paivi Lujala and Siri Aas Rustad

in High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding
Paivi Lujala and Siri Aas Rustad, eds., Earthscan 2011

Mineral Wealth, Conflict, and Equitable Development

in Institutional Pathways to Equity: Addressing Inequality Traps
Anthony Bebbington, Anis Dani, Arjan de Haan, and Michael Walton eds., World Bank, 2008

How Mineral-Rich States Can Reduce Inequality

in Escaping the Resource Curse
Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Stiglitz, and Macartan Humphreys eds., 2007

Resources and Rebellion in Indonesia

in Understanding Civil War: Europe, Central Asia, and other regions
Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis eds., World Bank, 2003

Oil, Drugs, and Diamonds: How Do Natural Resources Vary in their Impact on Civil War?

in Beyond Greed and Grievance: The Political Economy of Armed Conflict
Karen Ballentine and Jake Sherman eds., Lynne Rienner, 2003

The Natural Resource Curse: How Wealth Can Make You Poor

in Natural Resources and Violent Conflict: Options and Actions
Ian Bannon and Paul Collier eds., World Bank, 2003

Working (and non-working) Papers

Why do governments tax or subsidize fossil fuels?
with Cesar Martinez-Alvarez and Paasha Mahdavi
Center for Global Development Working Paper 541, August 2020

The Political Economy of Hydrocarbon Wealth and Fuel Prices
with Paasha Mahdavi
CEGA Working Paper 5742, January 2017

The 'Resource Curse' in MENA? Resource wealth, economic shocks, and conflict risk
with Nimah Mazaheri and Kai Kaiser
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 5742, July 2011

Mineral Wealth and Budget Transparency
January 2011

The Political Economy of Fertility in the Middle East
with Amaney Jamal and Irfan Nooruddin, August 2010

Latin America's Missing Oil Wars
March 2010

Oil and Democracy Revisited
March 2009

Booty Futures
May 2005

How Should States Manage Their Resource Rents? Some Considerations
December 2004

Indonesia's Puzzling Crisis
July 2001


Oil and Gas Data, 1932-2014
with Paasha Mahdavi

Replication Data for The Oil Curse

All Data on Harvard Dataverse

Other Publications

Americans weaned themselves off oil in the 1970s crisis. We can do it again [external link]
The Guardian, December 11, 2015

How oil wealth can make Russia and other countries less cooperative [external link]
with Erik Voeten
Washington Post, The Monkey Cage, April 30, 2014

How the 1973 Oil Embargo Saved the Planet [external link]
Foreign Affairs, October 2013

Resource Wealth and Violent Conflict [external link, broken]
The Environmental Forum, September/October 2013

Putin Victory Shows How Oil Supports Autocrats [external link]
Bloomberg News, May 6, 2012

Will Oil Drown the Arab Spring?
Foreign Affairs, September/October 2011;
reprinted in Harper's, November 2011

From Land Mines to Copper Mines
ForeignPolicy.com, June 15, 2010

Blood Barrels: How Oil Wealth Fuels Conflict
Foreign Affairs, May/June 2008

Myanmar, the Latest Petro-Bully
Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed), October 26, 2007

Nigeria's Oil Sector and the Poor
Report for the UK Department for International Development, May 2003

Extractive Sectors and the Poor
Oxfam America, October 2001

Testing Inductively-Generated Hypotheses with Independent Data Sets
Comparative Politics Newsletter, Winter 2003