Chart: Oil wealth can be a curse

A number of resource-rich countries developed a common problem. They became so dependent on the income they receive from resource extraction and trade that their economies emerge and submerge with international prices of the resource in question. Moreover, abundance of natural resources can provoke national elites to exploit this wealth for their own benefit hampering accountability. If no proper political and civic institutions are established in place, natural wealth could be misused and ultimately wasted. This is what economists call the resource curse.

In the chart below, oil revenues are the case in point. Using data from the World Bank and, our sister project, we list the top 10 countries with the highest share of oil revenue as percent of GDP. According to the World Bank definition which we employ, oil rents are the difference between the value of crude oil production at world prices and total costs of production.

To explore more countries and indicators please visit the respective page at

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