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The Natural Resources Trap: Private Investment without Public Commitment

Editor

Listed:
  • William Hogan
    ()

    (John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

  • Federico Sturzenegger
    ()

    (Banco Ciudad de Buenos Aires)

Abstract

Volatility in commodity prices has been accompanied by perpetual renegotiation of contracts between private investors in natural resource production and the governments of states with mineral and energy wealth. When prices skyrocket, governments want a larger share of revenues, sometimes to the point of nationalization or expropriation; when prices fall, larger state participation becomes a burden and the private sector is called back in. Recent and newsworthy changes in the price of oil (which fell from an all-time high of $147 in mid-2008 to $40 by year's end) are notable for their speed and the steepness of their rise and fall, but the up-and-down pattern itself is not unusual. If the unpredictability of commodity prices is so predictable, why do contracts not allow for this with mechanisms that would provide a more stable commercial framework? In The Natural Resources Trap, top scholars address this question in terms of both theory and practice. Theoretical contributions range across a number of fields, from contract theory to public finance, and treat topics that include taxation, royalties, and expropriation cycles. Case studies examine experiences in the U.K., Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, and other parts of the world. Contributors include Philippe Aghion, George-Marios Angeletos, Fernando Candia Castillo, Rafael di Tella, Juan Dubra, Eduardo Engel, Ramón Espinasa, Ronald Fischer, Jeffrey Frankel, Nicolás Gadano, Dieter Helm, William Hogan, Robert MacCulloch, Osmel Manzano, Francisco Monaldi, Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, Erich Muehlegger, Fernando Navajas, Robert Pindyck, Lucía Quesada, Roberto Rigobon, Eduardo S. Schwartz, Federico Sturzenegger, Lawrence Summers, Laurence Tai, Michael Tomz, Anders B. Trolle, Louis T. Wells, Nils Wernerfelt, Mark L. J. Wright, Richard Zeckhauser, and Jeromin Zettelmeyer.

Suggested Citation

  • William Hogan & Federico Sturzenegger (ed.), 2010. "The Natural Resources Trap: Private Investment without Public Commitment," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262013797, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262013797
    as

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kirill Borissov & Mikhail Pakhnin, 2018. "Economic growth and property rights on natural resources," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 65(2), pages 423-482, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    natural resource production; government; private investors; commodity prices; volatilty;

    JEL classification:

    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts

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