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Rethinking Rentierism: Global Perspectives, Changing Realities (Virtual Session)

Sat, September 17, 2:00 to 3:30pm, TBA

Session Submission Type: Virtual Full Paper Panel

Session Description

This panel brings together diverse research (with variation on methodology and career stage) on extractive political economies from around the world to explore whether ideas of ‘rentierism,’ ‘the resource curse,’ and ‘extractivism’ need to be re-evaluated in comparative politics. Using a Eurasian anchor, with detailed studies from Russia and China, the panel incorporates perspectives on ‘the rentier state’ from both Latin America and the Middle East/North Africa regions. By doing so, the participants show that simplistic hypotheses about rents and what political economies they produce are challenged by more current empirical evidence.

Strokan argues that rather than material or even historical determinism, natural resources have been handled quite differently across the post-Soviet space. Hong and Yang find that socially disadvantaged groups may not reap the benefits of natural resources, and that the resources itself may determine the social welfare impacts in China. Zadorian finds that Russia and Brazil failed to follow predictions laid out in classic rentier state theory following their commodity booms, complicating our expectations of countries newly flush with resource rents. Finally, Evans and Hartshorn seek to disentangle which of the overlapping political economic structures endemic to both the MENA and post-Soviet regions can be attributed to rents, resources, or institutional legacies. Together these papers point to new directions in comparative political economy and development, and serve as a starting point for more robust conversations across regional expertise.

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