Many poor countries are suffer from corruption, low human capital and an economy mostly based on natural resources. Iván Aldave and Cecilia García-Peñalosa put forward the argument that the "blessing" of natural resources gives the wrong incentives: why get educated when the soil is rich without effort? This results in low human capital for natural resource rich countries. This is something we already knew, see for example how rich, countries without natural resources can become, eg Japan. So we have a link between natural resources and human capital.
But the paper goes on to argue for a link from natural resources to corruption. This is more intriguing. Natural resources are generally state owned, thus more prone to rent seeking than, say, manufacturing. The more natural resources, the more you want to invest in political capital to the detriment of other forms of capital. Again, the wrong incentives.
(HT: Economic Logic)