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Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth


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  • Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • Andrew M. Warner


One of the surprising features of modern economic growth is that economies with abundant natural resources have tended to grow less rapidly than natural-resource-scarce economies. In this paper we show that economies with a high ratio of natural resource exports to GDP in 1971 (the base year) tended to have low growth rates during the subsequent period 1971-89. This negative relationship holds true even after controlling for variables found to be important for economic growth, such as initial per capita income, trade policy, government efficiency, investment rates, and other variables. We explore the possible pathways for this negative relationship by studying the cross-country effects of resource endowments on trade policy, bureaucratic efficiency, and other determinants of growth. We also provide a simple theoretical model of endogenous growth that might help to explain the observed negative relationship.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5398.

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Date of creation: Dec 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Sachs, Jeffrey D. and Andrew M. Warner. "The Big Rush, Natural Resource Booms And Growth," Journal of Development Economics, 1999, v59(1,Jun), 43-76.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5398

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  1. Warner, Andrew M., 1994. "Mexico's investment collapse: debt or oil?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 239-256, April.
  2. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Economic Convergence and Economic Policies," CASE Network Studies and Analyses, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research 0035, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
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Blog mentions

As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The Economic Nature of the Resource Curse: Evidence
    by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in Why Nations Fail on 2013-05-21 12:02:00
  2. Is the “Natural Resource Curse” Not Quite True?
    by Freakonomics in Freakonomics on 2011-04-04 16:00:26
  3. The Failings of Liberal Modernisation Theory
    by ? in e-International Relations on 2013-06-26 02:43:00
  4. Recursos Naturais ou Instituições?
    by Thomas H. Kang in Oikomania on 2012-03-07 03:24:00
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This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Armut in Wikipedia German ne '')
  2. Maledizione delle risorse in Wikipedia Italian ne '')
  3. Прокляття ресурсів in Wikipedia Ukranian ne '')
  4. Ressourcenfluch in Wikipedia German ne '')
  5. Kutukan sumber daya in Wikipedia Indonesian ne '')
  6. Ресурстар қарғысы in Wikipedia Kazakh ne '')
  7. Проклятие ресурсов in Wikipedia Russian ne '')
  8. Resource curse in Wikipedia English ne '')


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