Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


José Alemán, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Caley Johnson, Ph.D.


The oil states scattered throughout the developing world are no more democratic or peaceful than they were at the beginning of the twentieth century's natural resource era. In fact, some countries are worse, tainted by civil unrest, plummeting per capita income, and rising inflation. These socioeconomic ailments are often referred to as the Resource Curse or Dutch Disease. Mineral wealth, however, should not be confused with the dangers of sole oil wealth. The oil states are significantly more likely to be governed by authoritarian leaders. The irony of oil's unusual properties of fluctuating prices and secretive contracts do not solely prevent development, but they also do not promote it. Geologically blessed nations have been noted to possess fewer opportunities for economic and political mobility. A key clarification is that this is an overwhelming problem for low and middle-income countries, not wealthy industrialized nations. In my thesis, I examine Venezuela and Nigeria's democratic experiments' failure resulting in the effects of rentier failure, repression, and lack of modernization concerning their oil affluence. Fiscal revenue from their oil sectors became indistinguishable from government profit and size, dismantling the checks and balances constraining their respective leaders funded by rents.