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Rapacious Resource Depletion, Excessive Investment and Insecure Property Rights

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  • Frederick Van der Ploeg

Abstract

For a country fractionalized in competing factions, each owning part of the stock of natural exhaustible resources, or with insecure property rights, we analyze how resources are transformed into productive capital to sustain consumption. We allow property rights to improve as the country transforms natural resources into capital. The ensuing power struggle about the control of resources is solved as a non-cooperative differential game. Prices of resources and depletion increase faster than suggested by the Hotelling rule, especially with many competing factions and less secure property rights. As a result, the country substitutes away from resources to capital too rapidly and invests more than predicted by the Hartwick rule. The power struggle boosts output but depresses aggregate consumption and welfare, especially in highly fractionalized countries with less secure property rights. The theory suggests that adjusted net saving estimates calculated by the World Bank using market prices over-estimate welfare-based measures of genuine saving.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2981.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2981

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Related research

Keywords: exhaustible resources; Hotelling rule; Hartwick rule; capital; sustainable consumption; fractionalization; seepage; insecure property rights; differential game; genuine saving; adjusted net saving;

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  1. Kirk Hamilton & Cees Withagen, 2007. "Savings growth and the path of utility," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(2), pages 703-713, May.
  2. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2008. "Voracious Transformation of a Common Natural Resource into Productive Capital," OxCarre Working Papers 002, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
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  4. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Ngo Long, 2011. "Dynamic Games in the Economics of Natural Resources: A Survey," Dynamic Games and Applications, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 115-148, March.

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