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International development experts share their ideas on how wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing countries. Follow at

Feb 6, 2012

When a poor country finds oil, bad things often get worse. Countries rich in extractable natural resources, especially oil, frequently suffer from crummy governance, high poverty, endemic corruption and conflict. Is it possible to beat this oil curse? My guest on the Wonkcast this week, Todd Moss, CGD vice president for programs and senior fellow, says yes. He argues that a government that transfers some or all of its oil revenue to citizens in a universal, transparent, and regular taxable payment, could strengthen the social contract, fight corruption, and lay the foundation for future prosperity.

This iconoclastic idea – which Todd calls oil-to-cash—is gaining increased attention from policymakers, due in part to a spate of CGD working papers investigating promising experiments in oil revenue management in a diverse set of countries. To share the work more widely, and to build a global community of researchers and practitioners interested in pushing the idea forward, Todd is launching this week the first issue of a new CGD newsletter, the Oil-to-Cash Update.