Institutional factors are increasingly highlighted to explain the “resource curse” or, why some countries with rich natural resources have little long-term economic and political development. This paper makes the analytical distinction between institutions of extraction (institutions enabling and protecting rents extraction) and institutions of redistribution (institutions of power and revenue sharing). The paper uses Angola to illustrate that the former are protected and buttressed to enable rents-appropriation, whereas the latter are side-lined and impaired to prevent power and wealth redistribution. The strengths of the former and the weaknesses of the latter have led to monopolization, elite predation, and usurpation. Angola also strengthens the hypothesis that countries are cursed only when the oil boom appears before accountable and democratic state institutions are established and consolidated.

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