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The Varieties of Resource Experience: How Natural Resource Export Structures Affect the Political Economy of Economic Growth


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  • Lant Pritchett
  • Michael Woolcock
  • Gwen Busby
  • Jonathan Isham



Many oil, mineral, and plantation crop-based economies experienced a substantial deceleration of growth since the commodity boom and bust of the 1970s and early 1980s. Rodrik (1999) has demonstrated that the magnitude of a country's growth deceleration since the 1970s is a function of both the magnitude of the shocks and a country's "social capability" for adapting to shocks. In this paper, we demonstrate that in this respect countries, with what we term "point source" natural resource exports are doubly disadvantaged. Not only are countries with these types of exports exposed to terms of trade shocks, but the institutional capability for responding to shocks is itself endogenous and negatively related to export composition. Using two different sources of export data and classifications of export composition, we show that point source and coffee/cocoa exporting countries do worse across an array of governance indicators (controlling for a wide array of other potential determinants of governance). This is not just a function of being a "natural resource" exporter, as countries with natural resource exports that are "diffuse" do not show the same strong differences-and have had more robust growth recoveries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0308r.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0308r

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Keywords: economic growth; institutions; natural resource endowment;

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  1. J. A. Hausman & W. E. Taylor, 1980. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Working papers 255, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  3. Isham, Jonathan & Kaufmann, Daniel & Pritchett, Lant H, 1997. "Civil Liberties, Democracy, and the Performance of Government Projects," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 219-42, May.
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Blog mentions

As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. A Maldição dos Recursos Naturais
    by Leonardo Monasterio in Blog do Leonardo Monasterio on 2007-06-08 08:06:00
  2. The Natural Resource Curse
    by Leonardo Monasterio in Leonardo Monasterio's Blog on 2007-06-08 07:52:00
  3. Doença holandesa ou nigeriana?
    by Leonardo Monasterio in Blog do Leonardo Monasterio on 2009-12-10 13:11:00
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