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Understanding resource nationalism: Economic dynamics and political institutions

Wilson, J.D. (2015) Understanding resource nationalism: Economic dynamics and political institutions. Contemporary Politics, 21 (4). pp. 399-416.

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Resource nationalism is on the rise around the globe. During the recent global resource boom, many governments have adopted nationalistic policies to maximise the political and economic benefits from their mining and energy sectors. Existing theories of resource nationalism rely upon economistic bargaining models, which fail to interrogate how political processes shape governments’ resource policy strategies. This article extends and develops these bargaining models by theorising the role of political institutions – specifically those found in rentier, developing and liberal market economies – in determining patterns of resource nationalism. A survey of 12 major resource-producing countries reveals that contemporary resource nationalism takes a range of distinct forms, which are connected to differences in political institutions that structure the objectives and policies of governments. It is therefore argued that while economic dynamics function as an enabling factor, political institutions are an equally important conditioning factor shaping the distinctive forms of resource nationalism observed today.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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