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Commodity windfalls, polarization, and net foreign assets: Panel data evidence on the voracity effect

  • Arezki, Rabah
  • Brückner, Markus

This paper examines the effects that windfalls from international commodity price booms have on net foreign assets in a panel of 145 countries during the period 1970–2007. The main finding is that windfalls from international commodity price booms lead to a significant increase in net foreign assets, but only in countries that are ethnically homogeneous. In highly ethnically polarized countries, net foreign assets significantly decreased. To explain this asymmetry, the paper shows that in ethnically polarized countries commodity windfalls lead to large increases in government consumption expenditures and political corruption. The paper's findings are consistent with theoretical models of the current account that have a built-in voracity effect.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022199611001279
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 86 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 318-326

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:86:y:2012:i:2:p:318-326
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2011.11.001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  2. Lane, Philip R & Tornell, Aaron, 1996. "Power, Growth, and the Voracity Effect," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 213-41, June.
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  8. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2000. "Current Accounts in Debtor and Creditor Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1137-1166.
  9. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Indicators 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4373, November.
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  15. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2008. "Governance matters VII : aggregate and individual governance indicators 1996-2007," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4654, The World Bank.
  16. Torsten Persson & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1983. "Current Account Dynamics and the Terms of Trade: Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Two Generations Later," NBER Working Papers 1129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  18. Christopher D. Carroll & Olivier Jeanne, 2009. "A Tractable Model of Precautionary Reserves, Net Foreign Assets, or Sovereign Wealth Funds," NBER Working Papers 15228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. José G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
  20. Tornell, Aaron & Lane, Philip R., 1998. "Are windfalls a curse?: A non-representative agent model of the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 83-112, February.
  21. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
  22. Mendoza, Enrique G, 1995. "The Terms of Trade, the Real Exchange Rate, and Economic Fluctuations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 101-37, February.
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