IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

New mercantilism: A perspective on how politics is shaping world metal supply


  • Humphreys, David


The major countries consuming metals tended historically to be also the major countries producing them. It was in their interest to promote mine development to provide low cost raw materials. Over the past fifty years, the share of global production accounted for by consuming countries has declined and producers and consumers of metals have been slowly moving into separate camps having distinct and differing interests. As a consequence of this, governments of producing countries have become more focused on how to maximise the benefit of metal extraction to their economies rather than on how to supply cheap raw materials; a tendency which has found expression in resource nationalism. Governments of consuming countries have in response become increasingly concerned about the implications of this tendency to their economic development and some countries, most notably China, have adopted robust policies to secure their supplies. Through their actions to influence capital flows within the mining industry and to force metals trade into channels which better serve their national interests (a process characterised here as ‘new mercantilism’), metal producing and metal consuming countries are reshaping global supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Humphreys, David, 2013. "New mercantilism: A perspective on how politics is shaping world metal supply," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 341-349.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:38:y:2013:i:3:p:341-349
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2013.05.003

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barbara Fliess & Tarja Mård, 2012. "Taking Stock of Measures Restricting the Export of Raw Materials: Analysis of OECD Inventory Data," OECD Trade Policy Papers 140, OECD Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. David Humphreys, 2019. "The mining industry after the boom," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 32(2), pages 145-151, July.
    2. Benjamin C. McLellan & Eiji Yamasue & Tetsuo Tezuka & Glen Corder & Artem Golev & Damien Giurco, 2016. "Critical Minerals and Energy–Impacts and Limitations of Moving to Unconventional Resources," Resources, MDPI, vol. 5(2), pages 1-40, May.
    3. Freyja L Knapp, 2016. "The birth of the flexible mine: Changing geographies of mining and the e-waste commodity frontier," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 48(10), pages 1889-1909, October.
    4. Johan Du Plessis & Wouter Bam, 2018. "Comparing the Sustainable Development Potential of Industries: A Role for Sustainability Disclosures?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(3), pages 1-30, March.
    5. Belesky, Paul, 2016. "Rice, politics and power: the political economy of food insecurity in East Asia," Thesis Commons hn264, Center for Open Science.
    6. Valero, Alicia & Domínguez, Adriana & Valero, Antonio, 2015. "Exergy cost allocation of by-products in the mining and metallurgical industry," Resources, Conservation & Recycling, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 128-142.
    7. Klossek, Polina & Kullik, Jakob & van den Boogaart, Karl Gerald, 2016. "A systemic approach to the problems of the rare earth market," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 131-140.
    8. Li, Wenhua & Adachi, Tsuyoshi, 2017. "Quantitative estimation of resource nationalism by binary choice logit model for panel data," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 247-258.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Wübbeke, Jost, 2013. "Rare earth elements in China: Policies and narratives of reinventing an industry," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 384-394.
    2. Dino, Giovanna Antonella & Cavallo, Alessandro & Faraudello, Alessandra & Piercarlo, Rossi & Mancini, Susanna, 2021. "Raw materials supply: Kaolin and quartz from ore deposits and recycling activities. The example of the Monte Bracco area (Piedmont, Northern Italy)," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    3. Charlier, Christophe & Guillou, Sarah, 2014. "Distortion effects of export quota policy: an analysis of the China-Raw Materials dispute," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 320-338.
    4. Solleder, Jean-Marc, 2020. "Market power and export taxes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    5. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/f6h8764enu2lskk9p504jih2g is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Anna Marhold, 2017. "Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform In The WTO: Options For Constraining Dual Pricing In The Multilateral Trading System," Working Papers id:12335, eSocialSciences.
    7. Olga Solleder, 2013. "Panel Export Taxes (PET) Dataset: New Data on Export Tax Rates," IHEID Working Papers 07-2013, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    8. Stone, Susan & van Tongeren, Frank, 2013. "Trade Model Development at the OECD," Conference papers 332408, Purdue University, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Global Trade Analysis Project.

    More about this item


    Resource nationalism; Mining investment; China; Mercantilism; Supply security; Mineral consumption;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • L72 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Other Nonrenewable Resources
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:38:y:2013:i:3:p:341-349. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.