Can Norway Be a Role Model for Natural Resource Abundant Countries?
During the 1950-70s Norway had relatively low GDP per capita compared to the OECD average and even more so compared to Denmark and Sweden. During the 1970s there was a significant catch-up in incomes and from the early 1990s a ‘take-off’ in relative income. Norway is currently ranked among the countries with the highest GDP per capita in the world and is at the top according to UNDP’s human development indicator. We argue that this development is related to the growth of the Norwegian petroleum sector, although many studies of economic growth conclude that countries abundant in natural resources are not blessed but cursed by gifts of nature. How has Norway avoided so many of the possible problems that follow in the wake of a natural resource-based development? Nowadays the standard answer to this question is ‘good institutions’ and ‘clever policies’. In this paper we detail the institutions and policies that may explain the peculiar development success of Norway. There are lessons here that can contribute to policy learning, but only on the provision that the specificities of the ‘learning’ country are understood.