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From rent seeking to human capital: a model where resource shocks cause transitions from stagnation to growth

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  • Nils‐Petter Lagerlöf
  • Thomas Tangerås

Abstract

. We present a growth model where agents divide time between rent seeking in the form of resource competition and working in a human capital sector. The latter is interpreted as trade or manufacturing. Rent seeking exerts negative externalities on the productivity of human capital. Adding shocks, in the form of fluctuations in the size of the contested resource, the model can replicate a long phase with stagnant incomes and high levels of rent seeking, interrupted by small, failed growth spurts, eventually followed by a permanent transition to a sustained growth path where rent seeking vanishes in the limit. The model also generates a rise and fall of the so‐called natural resource curse: before the takeoff, an increase in the size of the contested resource has a positive effect on incomes; shortly after the takeoff, the effect is negative; and on the balanced growth path the growth rate of per capita income is independent of resource shocks. Les auteurs présentent un modèle de croissance où les agents divisent leur temps entre la chasse aux rentes (sous la forme de concurrence pour la ressource existante) et le travail productif dans le secteur du capital humain. Cette dernière activité peut se faire dans le commerce ou le secteur manufacturier. La chasse aux rentes a des effets externes négatifs sur la productivité du capital humain. Si l'on injecte des chocs prenant la forme de fluctuations dans la taille de la ressource contestée, le modèle peut générer une longue période durant laquelle les revenus stagnent et le niveau de chasse aux rentes est élevé, période interrompue par des petits sursauts de croissance qui tournent court, et suivie éventuellement par une transition permanente à un sentier de croissance soutenue où, à la limite, les activités de chasse aux rentes disparaissent. Le modèle génère aussi l'apparition et la disparition de la malédiction des ressources naturelles: avant que la croissance prenne son envol, un accroissement de la taille de la ressource contestée a un effet positif sur les revenus; peu après le décollage, l'effet est négatif; et sur le sentier de croissance équilibrée, le taux de croissance des revenus per capita est indépendant des chocs sur la ressource.

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  • Nils‐Petter Lagerlöf & Thomas Tangerås, 2008. "From rent seeking to human capital: a model where resource shocks cause transitions from stagnation to growth," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(3), pages 760-780, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:canjec:v:41:y:2008:i:3:p:760-780
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5982.2008.00484.x
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