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A theoretical overview of the relationship between the resource curse and genuine savings as an indicator for “weak” sustainability

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  • Adrian Boos
  • Karin Holm‐Müller

Abstract

This paper shows the strong relation between the factors that lead to the resource curse (RC) and factors that lead to a decline of genuine savings (GS). There is substantial empirical evidence that economies that rely predominantly on their natural resources are also characterized by slower economic growth. This so‐called RC is commonly traced back to the fact that natural resources' generate rents that are independent of a country's economic performance, which can lead to suboptimal reinvestments of this consumed natural capital. We argue that the factors responsible for the RC also have a negative effect on GS, a concept that measures “weak” sustainable development by considering reinvestment of natural capital rents in physical and human capital. We discuss whether the RC hampers possibilities for resource abundant countries to obtain sufficiently high rates of GS, and find indeed many reasons why resource‐dependent countries have problems achieving positive GS rates. We survey both areas of research, emphasizing the influence of the exogenous and endogenous determinants of economic growth, which are usually used to theoretically and empirically explain the RC on the three different forms of capital considered by GS. We specify why most countries suffering from the RC have negative GS rates and explain in detail where the linkages are. This overview could help with potential advancements in the explanation of GS through the inclusion of RC effects.

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  • Adrian Boos & Karin Holm‐Müller, 2012. "A theoretical overview of the relationship between the resource curse and genuine savings as an indicator for “weak” sustainability," Natural Resources Forum, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 145-159, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:natres:v:36:y:2012:i:3:p:145-159
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-8947.2012.01456.x
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