Explaining Subnational Public Goods Provision from Natural Resources Income: Regimes and Urban Bias

(with Joelean Hall)

Do political institutions shape the use of natural resource income for subnational public goods provision? We argue that democracies are less prone than autocracies to capture and redistribute natural resource rents away from their predominantly rural extraction areas. Democracies constrain inequitable subnational redistribution of natural resource rents due to malapportionment, proportional representation, and institutionalized spending procedures. By contrast, autocracies generally lack such institutional features and suffer from higher levels of urban bias that fuel the capture and redistribution of natural resources rents away from their extraction areas. We test this argument by creating new georeferenced panel datasets of subnational public goods provision and natural resources values across 12 countries. Our results will shed light on how natural resources revenues fuel differential levels of public goods provision and urban/rural bias in democracies and autocracies.