Working Paper
The curse of the one-size-fits-all fix

Re-evaluating what we know about extractives and economic development

In the context of falls in extractive commodities prices since 2011, this paper examines the history of thinking about the interplay between extractives and economic development.

Just as ‘the resource curse’ fails as a generic explanation on account of the huge diversity in country contexts, so does the one-size-fits-all governance solution, which international aid agencies, industry, and banks have promoted in support of ‘extractives-led growth’ since the early 2000s.

Asking why the sector has not in many cases yielded more durable economic gains reveals the need for greater attention to a country’s capacity to diversify, options for pacing development, and appropriate performance measures.