Photo: George Osodi

Natural Resources

We research how natural resources can be managed to create positive political and economic benefits for citizens in developing countries.

Completed projects

Jan 2011 - Dec 2014

Poverty and entrepreneurship

Nov 2011 - Oct 2014

REDD Integrity

Jan 2008 - Dec 2010

Flammable Societies

Jan 2008 - Sep 2008

Anti-Corruption Course Module

Ivar Kolstad

Senior Researcher

Inge Amundsen

Senior Researcher

Kendra Dupuy


Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance

Espen Villanger

Research Director

Arne Wiig

Senior Researcher

David Aled Williams

Senior Program Advisor (U4)

Oiled Progress

New discoveries of natural resources like oil and gas raise people's expectations for a better future. Yet, history shows that the poor rarely benefit. Natural resources can be good or bad for development, depending on how political rulers govern their resources.

If political leaders capture the revenues generated from natural resource extraction and production and use them for personal enrichment and to stay in power, then resources will not help a country to develop. But if political leaders make wise decisions about managing natural resources and channel the revenues into productive economic activities, then countries can develop based on their natural capital.

In many developing countries, natural resource wealth often results in non-democratic political leadership, poverty, and armed conflict. We examine the reasons for this and ways to overcome these problems.We carry out research on how natural resources like oil, gas, minerals, forests, fisheries, water, and land can be managed for the benefit of citizens. 

Our research examines the political economy of natural resource management - that is, the conditions under which political rulers will make good or bad decisions about how to use resource revenues. CMI research on natural resources produce practical recommendations for stakeholders and policy makers in resource rich developing countries. This includes assessment of policy options related to institutional reform, transparency initiatives, sector regulation, taxation, and revenue collection. Our analyses will be of use not only to progressive forces in resource rich countries, but also to governments in countries investing in resource extraction in developing countries, or importing resources from them.