Developing countries whose economies rely on exports of oil, gas, or extracted minerals are likely to be poverty-stricken, corrupt, authoritarian, and beset by civil war, according to numerous scholarly studies conducted since the late 1980s. Environmentalists and human-rights advocates have often used these studies to argue that the World Bank should stop funding resource-extraction projects. Now a new draft report from the World Bank itself has found that many such projects the bank has backed in poor countries have caused more harm than good. Melissa Thomas, a political economist at the University of Maryland who wrote the report using internal World Bank documents, found that locals derived little benefit from oil, gas, and mining projects in nations such as Ecuador, Ghana, Kazakhstan, and Papua New Guinea. She concludes that the bank should stop financing such developments in countries with poor governance — a recommendation that the massive bureaucracy seems unlikely to act on anytime soon. Critics of the bank are particularly skeptical of its claims that a big oil pipeline now under construction in Chad will benefit locals in this desperately poor country with a notoriously corrupt government.