Timber Booms and Institutional Breakdown in Southeast Asia

Timber Booms and Institutional Breakdown in Southeast Asia

In this book, Michael L. Ross explores the breakdown of the institutions that govern natural resource exports in developing states. Using case studies of timber booms in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, he shows that these institutions often break down when states receive positive trade shocks--unanticipated windfalls. Drawing on the theory of rent-seeking, he suggests that these institutions succumb to a problem he calls "rent-seizing"--the predatory behavior of politicians who seek to supply rent to others, and who purposefully dismantle institutions that restrain them.


"Ross's work in an important documentation of the process by which political and economic elites invented new institutions and introduced new forms of patronage. This documentation is a valuable contribution to knowledge." Pacific Affairs

"This is an important contribution and makes the book one that will garner much attention from those interested in natural-resource management and economic development." Governance

"...Ross's book makes an important contribution to our theorizing of the effects of natural resources exports on the mostly negative trajectory of institutions. Its clear and readable prose, cogent argument, and detailed histories of political parties and institutions should make it a useful addition to instruction on the politics and economics of timber in Southeast Asia and natural resources more generally." Society and Natural Resources

'This book offers a clear understanding of how natural-resource management in developing countries cannot be managed solely on a political basis, but must involve responsible and ethical foresters.' The Journal of Asian Studies

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