Nature > Natural Resources

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Anke Hoeffler, Mr. Robert H. Bates, and Ms. Ghada Fayad
We revisit Lipset‘s law, which posits a positive and significant relationship between income and democracy. Using dynamic and heterogeneous panel data estimation techniques, we find a significant and negative relationship between income and democracy: higher/lower incomes per capita hinder/trigger democratization. Decomposing overall income per capita into its resource and non-resource components, we find that the coefficient on the latter is positive and significant while that on the former is significant but negative, indicating that the role of resource income is central to the result.
Leandro Medina and Mr. Nicolas E Magud
This paper estimates the potential output (and the output gap) in Chile using several different methodologies. After a structural brake in 1998, the average growth rate of potential output in Chile declined from over 7 percent to 3-4 percent in the aggregate economy, but to less than 2 percent in the natural resource sector. The contributions to aggregate potential output growth of the natural resource sector and the non-natural resource sector are estimated, finding that the contribution to growth of the natural resource sector is non-linear-increasing during the 1990s, declining during the 2000s, and turning negative in the mid-2000s-despite the monotonic decrease in the share of natural resource output in aggregate output.
Mr. Rabah Arezki and Frederik van der Ploeg
We criticize existing empirical results on the detrimental effects of natural resource dependence on the rate of economic growth after controlling for institutional quality, openness, and initial income. These results do not survive once we use instrumental variables techniques to correct for the endogenous nature of the explanatory variables. Furthermore, they suffer from omitted variables bias as they overestimate the effect of initial income per capita and thus underestimate the speed of conditional convergence. Instead, we provide new evidence for the impact of natural resource dependence on income per capita in a systematic empirical cross-country framework. In addition to a significant negative direct impact of natural resources on income per capita, we find a significant indirect effect of natural resources on institutions. We allow for interaction effects and provide evidence that the natural resource curse is particularly severe for economic performance in countries with a low degree of trade openness. Adopting policies directed toward more trade openness may thus soften the impact of a resource curse. We also check the robustness of our results by using a variety of instruments and also employing the ratio of natural capital rather than natural resource exports to national income as an explanatory variable. We find evidence that resource abundance, measured by the stock of natural capital, also induces a resource curse, but less severely for countries that are relatively open.