Local natural resource curse and sustainable socio-economic development in a Russian mining community of Kovdor
Natural resource extraction forms the backbone of the Russian economy and characterizes the majority of regions and communities in the Russian North. The long-term socio-economic sustainability of natural resource extraction in resource abundant countries has been questioned and discussed in various social sciences with the resource curse theory, which, however, is understudied on the local level. This study creates a local resource curse theory that is based on the basic idea that there are negative consequences to sustainable socio-economic development as a result of the resource curse. The paper seeks to explain how the current use of natural resources presents obstacles to the sustainable socio-economic development of resource communities. The local resource curse theory approaches the unsustainability of local resource-based development using eight elements, which define the structural and attitudinal consequences of resource-based development for resource communities.
Using this theoretical framework, this study analyses the socio-economic sustainability of resource-based development in the peripheral mining community of Kovdor, located in the Murmansk region. The case study is based on survey results conducted by the author in Kovdor in 2010. The data is analysed with quantitative methods. This paper presents a new approach for understanding the resource curse on the local level. The paper argues that the local resource curse theory is competent for explaining the unsustainability of resource extraction as the basis of local development. The study demonstrates that structural and attitudinal consequences of resource-based development are important for understanding about the negative consequences of resource-based development for sustainable long-term local socio-economic development.