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Introduction: Domestic balancing acts in the Caspian petro-states

ByANDREA KENDALL-TAYLOR

A solid body of research has shown that petroleum-rich countries tend to experience slower economic growth than countries without substantial hydrocarbon resources (see e.g. Sachs and Warner 1995). Petroleum wealth also tends to be associated with high levels of corruption, low transparency and limited democratic freedoms (Ross 2001, 2009). The ‘resource curse’, however, is not a matter of fate. A handful of countries – among them Botswana, Malaysia and Norway – have used their resources to foster prosperity. When well managed, petroleum revenues can provide a springboard for development.