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Resource Booms, Inequality, And Poverty: The Case Of Gas In Bolivia

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  • Jann Lay
  • Rainer Thiele
  • Manfred Wiebelt

Abstract

This paper addresses the question of whether the Bolivian gas boom of the 1990s has bypassed large parts of the poor population, thereby leading to increasing inequalities in an already unequal society. Using a Computable General Equilibrium model that is sequentially linked to a microsimulation model, we examine the transmission channels through which the large resource inflows related to the gas boom, both initial foreign investment in the sector and the subsequent export earnings, as well as large public transfer programs affect the distribution of income. Our focus is on labor market impacts, in particular on shifts between formal and informal employment and changes in relative factor prices. Our simulation results suggest that the gas boom induces a combination of unequalizing and equalizing forces, which tend to offset each other. As net distributional change is limited, growth generated by the boom reduces poverty despite increasing informality. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 International Association for Research in Income and Wealth Published.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income and Wealth.

Volume (Year): 54 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 407-437

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:54:y:2008:i:3:p:407-437

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  1. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Papers 517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  2. Maurizio Bussolo & Jann Lay, 2003. "Globalisation and Poverty Changes in Colombia," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
  3. Klasen, Stephan, 2007. "Determinants of pro-poor growth:," 2020 vision briefs BB09 Special Edition, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Federico Escobar & Osvaldo Nina, 2004. "Pension Reform in Bolivia: A Review of Approach and Experience," Development Research Working Paper Series 04/2004, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
  5. Spatz, Julius, 2004. "The Impact of Structural Reforms on Wages and employment: The case of Formal versus Informal Workers in Bolivia," Revista Latinoamericana de Desarrollo Economico, Instituto de Investigaciones Socio-Económicas (IISEC), Universidad Católica Boliviana, issue 2, pages 91-122, Abril.
  6. Julius Spatz, 2003. "The Impact of Structural Reforms on Wages and Employment: The Case of Formal versus Informal Workers in Bolivia," Kiel Working Papers 1186, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
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