The literature on the ‘‘resource curse’’ suggests that the quality of institutions determines a country’s ability to transform resource wealth into economic development. This article explores the link between resource rents, institutions, and economic performance by focusing on the case of Iran. A key feature of Iran’s institutional environment is its factionalized political system. We give an introduction to the main actors vying for control over the country’s resources and analyze the effect of their destructive competition. Using a theoretical model, we study how oil revenues and the relative strength of interest groups affect private investment and economic efficiency.

Recent CMI publications: