Roots and Fruits of Democracy: Natural Resources, Income Distribution and Social Violence

Matteo Cervellati, Piergiuseppe Fortunato, Uwe Sunde


This paper proposes the argument that natural resource abundance and large economic inequality, by shaping the interests of different social groups, are key factors for the determination of the transition scenario from authoritarianism to democracy. In turn, the transition scenario, and in particular the level of violence during democratization, determines the success or failure of a democratic reform. We analyze the historical experience of countries that democratized during the “third wave” of democratization in order to shed some light on the determinants and consequences of current and future democratic transitions.

Published on 9 Feb 2015 in World Economic Review No 4, 2015