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Corruption is considered an important driver of the resource curse in developing countries. Based on a large-scale field experiment in Tanzania, this paper studies how the salience of future natural resource revenues shapes beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. We find some evidence that information about the discovery of natural gas causes people to expect more corruption in the future, but no evidence of the information making people at present more willing to engage in corruption and dishonest behavior or less trusting. The findings do not support the idea of self-fulfilling expectations about future corruption. The paper provides a rich set of results on the determinants of corruption and trust in a development context, which may contribute to a better understanding of the micro-foundations of the resource curse.

JEL Classification: HE, C9, D7, D9, Q3

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance