sharing in governance of extractive industries

Our new book—Public Brainpower—has just been published by Palgrave MacMillan. It examines how civil society, public debate and freedom of speech affect the management of oil and gas resources and revenues. Drawing on the work of Almond and Verba on civic culture, by Dahl on polyarchy, by Habermas on the public sphere and by Putnam on civil society and social capital, the book introduces the concept of “public brainpower” and suggests that good governance of natural resources requires fertile public debate. Public debate enables a society to conceive new institutions, to provide checks and balances on existing institutions and to ensure their continuous dynamic evolution as the needs of society change.


The 20 contributors to the book explore the strengths and weaknesses of these ideas through empirical case studies of 18 oil and gas-producing countries: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK and Venezuela. 


Four of the chapters can be downloaded at these locations:



Anyone interested in other chapters is welcome to send me an email.

Indra Overland


Research Professor and Head of Energy Program

NUPI – Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

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