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Public Investment in Resource-Abundant Developing Countries


  • Andrew Berg
  • Rafael Portillo
  • Shu-Chun S Yang
  • Luis-Felipe Zanna


Natural resource revenues provide a valuable source to finance public investment in developing countries, which frequently face borrowing constraints and tax mobilization problems. This paper develops a dynamic stochastic model to analyze the macroeconomic effects of investing resource revenues, making explicit the role of public investment inefficiency, absorptive capacity constraints, Dutch disease, and financing needs to sustain capital. Revenue exhaustibility raises medium-term issues of how to sustain capital built during a windfall, while revenue volatility raises short-term concerns about macroeconomic instability. Using the model, country applications show how combining public investment with a resource fund—a sustainable investing approach—can address the problems associated with exhaustibility and volatility. The applications also demonstrate how the model can be used to determine the appropriate magnitude of the investment scaling-up (accounting for the financing needs to sustain capital) and the adequate size of a stabilization fund (buffer).

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Berg & Rafael Portillo & Shu-Chun S Yang & Luis-Felipe Zanna, 2013. "Public Investment in Resource-Abundant Developing Countries," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(1), pages 92-129, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:61:y:2013:i:1:p:92-129

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anthony Venables, 2010. "Resource rents; when to spend and how to save," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(4), pages 340-356, August.
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