What would happen if a country that struck oil decided to share the income directly with its own citizens? That’s precisely the question that Caroline Lambert, Stephanie Majerowicz, and I try to explore in our new book Oil to Cash: Fighting the Resource Curse with Cash Transfers.
CGD has been studying the idea we dubbed Oil-to-Cash for years now. We’ve done papers on Ghana, Iraq, Venezuela, Uganda, and more. We’ve analyzed aspects of the politics, technology, financing, and accountability potential. We’ve tried to learn from Alaska’s experience with the Permanent Fund dividend, from the treasure trove of evidence from national cash transfer schemes in places like Mexico and Brazil, from India’s Aadhaar universal biometric ID program, and from healthy skeptics who think this idea is either crazy or impossible. I’ve even tried to explain the concept using a pitcher of green jellybeans.
In the book, we’ve pulled more than three years of work together to try to answer some of these questions:
- Why is Oil-to-Cash a good idea and how would it work?
- What’s the relevant evidence from hundreds of cash transfer experiments?
- What might be the economic or political benefits?
- What problems, obstacles, or objections might arise?
- When and where might Oil-to-Cash actually happen?
We hope the book will help to move the policy debates to the next phase and, eventually, a pilot.
Please join us June 10th at 4pm at CGD in Washington for our book launch, discussion, and celebratory reception.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.