Resource Management and Transition in Central Asia, Azerbaijan, and Mongolia

by Richard Pomfret

East-West Center Working Papers, Economics Series, No. 118

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: June 2011
Binding: paper
Pages: 29
Free Download: PDF


This paper presents a comparative analysis of resource-rich Asian transition economies. For Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan the ability to earn revenue from cotton exports permitted avoidance of reform. Oil in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan was associated with large-scale corruption, but with soaring revenues in the 2000s their institutions evolved and to some extent improved. Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia illustrate the challenge facing a small economy with a large potential mineral resource, with the former suffering from competition for rents among the elite and the latter from lost opportunities. Overall the countries illustrate that a resource curse is not inevitable among transition economies, but a series of hurdles need to be surmounted to benefit from resource abundance. Neither the similar initial institutions nor those created in the 1990s are immutable.


Additional titles in the East-West Center Working Papers series