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Optimal Dutch disease


  • Matsen, Egil
  • Torvik, Ragnar


Growth models of the Dutch disease, such as those of Krugman (1987), Matsuyama (1992), Sachs and Warner (1995) and Gylfason et al. (1999), explain why resource abundance may reduce growth. However, the literature also raises a new question: if the use of resource wealth hurts productivity growth, how should such wealth be optimally managed? This question forms the topic of the present paper, in which we extend the growth literature on the Dutch disease from a positive to a normative setting. We show that the assumptions in the previous literature imply that the optimal share of national wealth consumed in each period needs to be adjusted down. However, some Dutch disease is always optimal. Thus lower growth in resource abundant countries may not be a problem in itself, but may be part of an optimal growth path. The optimal spending path of the resource wealth may be increasing or decreasing over time, and we discuss why this is the case.
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Suggested Citation

  • Matsen, Egil & Torvik, Ragnar, 2005. "Optimal Dutch disease," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 494-515, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:78:y:2005:i:2:p:494-515

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stijns, Jean-Philippe C., 2005. "Natural resource abundance and economic growth revisited," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 107-130, June.
    2. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Institutions and the Resource Curse," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 1-20, January.
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    24. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development


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