The Role of Natural Resources in Kurdistan Regional Government’s Economic Development




Agriculture Sector, Economic Diversification, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Oil and Gas Sector, Resource Curse


The oil and gas industry of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq developed rapidly between 2007 and 2013, described as the “good days” of the Kurdistan Region’s economy. However, the Kurdistan Regional Government has faced a severe economic crisis since 2014, with falling oil prices and disruption to oil production. As a newly oil-exporting region, the flow of revenues derived from oil exports plays an important role in the region’s economic development. This paper addresses three questions: What are the challenges of the resource curse facing oil-exporting countries; how has oil and gas industry development contributed to the improvement of other economic sectors, particularly the agricultural sector in the Kurdistan Region; and what policy recommendations can be made to counter the challenges of the resource curse? We argue that the Kurdistan Region’s economy is over-reliant on revenues from the oil industry and that excess revenues have not been sufficiently and effectively invested in the other crucial economic sectors, such as agriculture, to diversify sources of income.


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Author Biographies

  • Almas Heshmati, Department of Economics, Room GN702, Sogang University, Seoul, Korea

    Almas Heshmati is Professor of Economics at the Jönköping University (Sweden) and Sogang University (South Korea). He was professor of Economics at the Korea University, Seoul National University, University of Kurdistan at Hawler, RATIO Institute, Stockholm and MTT Agrifood Research, Helsinki and Research Fellow at the World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), The United Nations University, Helsinki during 2001-2004. From 1998 until 2001, he was an Associate Professor of Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics. He has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Gothenburg (1994), where he held a Senior Researcher position until 1998. His research interests include agricultural economics, development economics, energy economics, industrial organization, labor, globalization, income distribution, productivity, efficiency, growth, health care and capital structure. He is member of the Scientific Committee of the International Conference on Panel Data. His publications include papers in the Agricultural Economics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Applied Economics, Applied Financial Economics, Econometric Reviews, Economic Theory, Empirical Economics, European Journal of Operational Research, Global Economy Journal, International Journal of Industrial Organization, International Journal of Production Economics, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Journal of Economic Surveys, Journal of Productivity Analysis, Journal of the World System Research, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, and Structural Change and Economic Dynamics.

  • Khazal Auzer, Soran University, Kurdistan Region – F.R. Iraq

    Dr. Khazal's academic background is in governance and management of resources. He completed his undergraduate B.Sc. study (1998) in Iran and graduated M.A. degree (2009) from Regensburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany. He gained his Ph.D. (2016) at the University of Warwick in United Kingdom. He worked at interface between industrial and political economy. In his research he has focused on the political economy of oil and gas sector. For almost 6 years he has studied the development and governance of the newly emerging Kurdistan-Iraq oil and gas sector.



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Research Articles

How to Cite

The Role of Natural Resources in Kurdistan Regional Government’s Economic Development. (2018). UKH Journal of Social Sciences, 2(1), 1-14.