Our MotivatioN

Project on Resources and Governance (PRG) is a non-profit research initiative that applies insights from the social and behavioral sciences to find effective solutions to governance problems in resource-rich countries.

Instead of benefiting from the value they create, many resource-rich countries are often afflicted by corruption, environmental damage, and instability – a syndrome known as the “resource curse.” In response, many countries have updated the laws regulating their extractive-sectors, and global pacts – including the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Kimberly Process, the Minamata Convention, and the Natural Resource Charter – have set new standards for resource governance. But new laws and standards have not been sufficient to lift the resource curse.

Progress requires behavioral change, not just amended codes of conduct: politicians must forego the corruption that benefitted their predecessors; companies must meet the concerns of local communities; and ordinary citizens must participate in the stewardship of local resources. Insights from the social and behavioral sciences can inform how to shift social norms, how to reduce the material and psychological costs of taking action, and how to encourage better behavior. We seek to apply cutting-edge social science ideas and methods to design and test policies and programs that promote prosperity, peace, and accountability in these resource-rich countries.

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