Oil to Cash

Fighting the Resource Curse through Cash Transfers

Available January 15, 2015

What should a country do if it suddenly discovers oil and gas? How should it spend the subsequent cash windfall? How can it protect against corruption? How can citizens truly benefit from national wealth? With many of the world’s poorest and most fragile states suddenly joining the ranks of oil and gas producers, these are pressing policy questions.

Oil to Cash explores one option that may help avoid the so-called resource curse: just give the money directly to citizens. A universal, transparent, and regular cash transfer would not only provide a concrete benefit to regular people, but would also create powerful incentives for citizens to hold their government accountable. Oil to Cash details how and where this idea could work and how policymakers can learn from the experiences with cash transfers in places like Mexico, Mongolia, and Alaska.