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Resource Extraction Contracts Under Threat of Expropriation: Theory and Evidence

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  • Johannes Stroebel

    (New York University)

  • Arthur van Benthem

    (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

We use fiscal data on 2,468 oil extraction agreements in 38 countries to study tax contracts between resource-rich countries and independent oil companies. We analyze why expropriations occur and what determines the degree of oil price exposure of host countries. With asymmetric information about a country's expropriation cost, even optimal contracts feature expropriations. Near linearity in the oil price of real-world hydrocarbon contracts also helps to explain expropriations. We show theoretically and verify empirically that oil price insurance provided by tax contracts is increasing in a country's cost of expropriation and decreasing in its production expertise. The timing of actual expropriations is consistent with our model. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Stroebel & Arthur van Benthem, 2013. "Resource Extraction Contracts Under Threat of Expropriation: Theory and Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1622-1639, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:5:p:1622-1639
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    Cited by:

    1. Natasha Chichilnisky-Heal & Geoffrey Heal, 2015. "Host-MNC Relations in Resource-Rich Countries," NBER Working Papers 21712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Carsten Hefeker & Sebastian G. Kessing, 2017. "Competition for natural resources and the hold-up problem," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 50(3), pages 871-888, August.
    3. Chang, Roberto & Hevia, Constantino & Loayza, Norman, 2009. "Privatization and nationalization cycles," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5029, The World Bank.
    4. Akhtaruzzaman, M. & Berg, Nathan & Hajzler, Christopher, 2017. "Expropriation risk and FDI in developing countries: Does return of capital dominate return on capital?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 84-107.
    5. repec:cte:wbrepe:wb142304 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Arezki, Rabah & Toscani, Frederik & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2016. "Shifting Frontiers in Global Resource Wealth: The Role of Policies and Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 11553, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Ramin Dadasov & Carsten Hefeker & Oliver Lorz, 2014. "Natural Resource Production, Corruption, and Expropriation," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201436, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    8. Perez-Sebastian, Fidel & Raveh, Ohad, 2016. "Natural resources, decentralization, and risk sharing: Can resource booms unify nations?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 38-55.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    oil extraction; tax contracts; oil price exposure;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

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