Working Paper
Understanding the boom

A framing paper

A significant natural resource discovery creates excited popular expectations of imminent wealth. But the size of a boom is usually overestimated and the delay in receiving revenues is underestimated.

This paper takes stock of the sequencing, timing, and scale of the development of a natural resource endowment; reviews the ‘resource curse’ literature; looks at benchmarks of scale and timing so as to put potential booms into the context of the challenges of growth and structural change in Africa; and, finally, gathers together observations on policy and institutional changes.