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Managing the Exploitation of Natural Assets: Lessons for low income countries

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  • Paul Collier
  • Anthony J Venables

Abstract

This paper provides an analytic review of the upstream aspects of the exploitation of natural resources: the assignment of ownership rights, taxation, the discovery process, extraction, renewability, and clean-up. It sets these issues within the principal-agent framework. It proposes that the present common system whereby governments sellextraction rights prior to discovery through signature bonuses is likely to be socially costly, since the sale of rights occurs at a stage where irreducible risks generate a severe discount. It also proposes that the present common system whereby governments sell extraction rights by means of negotiated deals might disadvantage governments relative to more transparent and competitive systems such as auctions. While the paper is primarily analytic, it also briefly reviews African experience, suggesting that both high commodity prices and the low value of discovered assets per hectare imply major opportunities.

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File URL: http://www.oxcarre.ox.ac.uk/images/stories/papers/ResearchPapers/oxcarrerp200811.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford in its series OxCarre Working Papers with number 011.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:011

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Related research

Keywords: Exploitation; natural assets; natural resources; principal-agent framework; ownership rights; taxation; discovery process; extraction; renewability; signature bonuses; negotiated deals; auctions.;

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