Curse or Blessing? How Institutions Determine Success in Resource-Rich Economies

Although more than half a century has passed since the creation of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its redistributive model of “resource nationalism,” many OPEC countries have not lived up to expectations and have not experienced an acceleration of growth. In general, the results were negative: private investment was crowded out, rent-seeking and corruption increased, and overall productivity fell. In a new paper, Peter Kaznacheev explains how the quality of institutions determines whether natural resource abundance is a blessing or a curse.

Trump’s Nominees Begin Confirmation Hearings

The first of President-elect Trump’s nominees to get a confirmation hearing was Senator Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who is Trump’s nominee to be attorney general. Sessions went before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will be followed by John Kelly (Homeland Security), Rex Tillerson (State), Mike Pompeo (CIA), Elaine Chao (Transportation), Wilbur Ross (Commerce), and Ben Carson (HUD).  Cato scholars have written and commented extensively on Trump’s nominees and their likely strengths and weaknesses.

Nat Hentoff, RIP

Cato Senior Fellow Nat Hentoff passed away on Saturday evening at age 91. He was a leading authority on the Bill of Rights and most especially the First Amendment. He authored 37 books and countless newspaper and magazine articles. He is perhaps most well-known for his opinion articles in the Village Voice, where he wrote for 51 years, from 1957 until 2008. He joined the Cato staff in 2009 and never stopped researching and writing.

‘Jawboning’ and Free Speech

Today, regulated companies—including broadcast TV and radio, satellite TV and radio, cable TV, and internet service providers (ISPs)—are the primary producers and distributors of mass media and publications. Given the power that the Federal Communication Commission has over these regulated companies, most must remain in the commission’s good graces to operate. In the new issue of Regulation, Brent Skorup and Christopher Koopman argue that this power should be viewed skeptically in light of the danger it poses to both the First Amendment and the Rule of Law.

Cato Institute 40th Anniversary

Recent Commentary


January 25

Populism and Nationalism in the Trump Era

Featuring Mindy Finn, Advisor, Democracy Fund Voice; Alex Nowrasteh, Research Fellow, Cato Institute; Ruy Teixeira, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Robert P. Jones, CEO, Public Religion Research Institute; Henry Olsen, Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Alex Lundry, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, Deep Root Analytics; Lisa Dropkin, Principal, Edge Research; and Emily Ekins, Research Fellow, Cato Institute.

5:00PM to 6:30PM
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

January 26

The Welfare of Nations

Featuring the author James Bartholomew, The Welfare of Nations; with comments by Will Wilkinson, Vice President for Policy, Niskanen Center; Sven R. Larson, Author, Industrial Poverty: Yesterday Sweden, Today Europe, Tomorrow America; moderated by Michael Tanner, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

12:00PM to 1:30PM
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

Of Special Note

The Welfare of Nations

The Welfare of Nations

What damage is being done by failing welfare states? What lessons can be learned from the best welfare states? And—is it too late to stop welfare states from permanently diminishing the lives and liberties of people around the world? Traveling around the globe, James Bartholomew examines welfare models, searching for the best education, health care, and support services in 11 vastly different countries; illuminating the advantages and disadvantages of other nations’ welfare states; and delving into crucial issues such as literacy, poverty, and inequality. This is a hard-hitting and provocative contribution to understanding how welfare states are changing the very nature of modern civilization.

Special! 10 Copies for $10

Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

Now Available

The Libertarian Mind Audiobook

The Libertarian Mind, by David Boaz, longtime executive vice president of the Cato Institute, is the best available guide to the history, ideas, and growth of libertarianism, and is the ultimate resource for the current, burgeoning libertarian movement. This acclaimed book is now available as a fully unabridged audiobook, ready for immediate downloading, on

CatoAudio – Now Available on the Cato Website

Every month CatoAudio puts you right in the middle of policy debates in Washington. Through highlights from the Cato Institute’s events and conferences, you can listen to in-depth discussions from well-known leaders, authors, experts, pundits, journalists, and scholars. Previously only available as a paid subscription service delivered by mail, CatoAudio is now available free of charge on the Cato website – which includes over five years of archived recordings.