Natural resource policies and standard of living in Kazakhstan

Sakal H. B.

CENTRAL ASIAN SURVEY, vol.34, no.2, pp.237-254, 2015 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 34 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/02634937.2014.987970
  • Title of Journal : CENTRAL ASIAN SURVEY
  • Page Numbers: pp.237-254
  • Keywords: Kazakhstan oil, poverty reduction, Central Asia, Kazakhstan economy, Nursultan Nazarbayev, development economics, oil wealth distribution, NATIONALISM, RUSSIA, WEALTH


This paper evaluates Kazakhstan's natural resource policies and their impact on the standard of living of the Kazakhstan population within the framework of three determinative factors: globalization and international markets; Soviet legacy and 'resource nationalism'; and Nursultan Nazarbayev and his authoritarian leadership. It argues that natural resource policies of Kazakhstan failed to improve the living standards of the majority of people in Kazakhstan, especially the poor and those living in oil-producing and rural areas, despite increasing oil prices and revenues. The argument will be supported with an analysis of Kazakhstan's oil wealth distribution in light of global initiatives as well as with evidence derived from official reports and statistical data to find out whether Nazarbayev's widely discussed 'resource nationalism' is 'nationalistic' enough to favour the whole nation.