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International trade and net investment: theory and evidence

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  • Lucas Bretschger
  • Simone Valente

Abstract

The theory of welfare accounting shows that comprehensive measures of net investment can be used to test whether an economy is following unsustainable paths of consumption. However, the notion of net investment used in most applied studies rules out technological progress and terms-of-trade gains from international trade. This paper considers an augmented expression of net investment derived from a dynamic growth model featuring international trade in different types of resource inputs, exogenous productivity growth in final sectors, and cost-reducing progress in resource extraction. Calculating augmented net investment for the world's top twenty oil producers, we show that the difference with standard non-augmented measures can be large and may even revert some established con- clusions regarding sustainability: prospects are more favorable than previously thought in oil-exporting countries endowed with large reserves like Angola, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. In oil-importing economies, future consumption possibilities are limited by the lack of expected rental incomes from future resource exports.
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Suggested Citation

  • Lucas Bretschger & Simone Valente, 2011. "International trade and net investment: theory and evidence," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 197-224, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:iecepo:v:8:y:2011:i:2:p:197-224
    DOI: 10.1007/s10368-011-0192-1
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    1. Lucas Bretschger & Simone Valente, 2011. "International economics and natural resources: from theory to policy," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 115-120, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International trade; Natural resources; Net investment; Sustainability; Technological progress; E22; F11; O11;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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