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Resource Curse or Malthusian Trap? Evidence from Oil Discoveries and Extractions

Author

Listed:
  • Anca Cotet

    () (Department of Economics, Ball State University)

  • Kevin K. Tsui

    () (The John E. Walker Department of Economics, Clemson University)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of oil rent on development using a unique panel dataset describing worldwide oil discoveries and extractions. First, we revisit the so-called curse of oil, which contends that oil rent hinders economic development. Exploiting cross-country variations in the timing of oil discoveries and the size of initial oil in place, we find that, contrary to the oil-curse hypothesis, there is little robust evidence of a negative relationship between oil endowment and economic performance, even after controlling for initial income. Second, based on both cross-country and panel evidence, we find a robust association between oil abundance and population growth, which might suggest a Malthusian effect which reduces the economic growth measured in per capita GDP. We find some evidence that oil abundance increases fertility. On an accounting basis, however, migration plays an even more prominent role in explaining the oil-induced population growth. Furthermore, we show that focusing on material gain may understate the welfare gain from oil abundance, because relative to non-oil countries, oil-rich countries gain more in health improvements. These results suggest that despite the positive oil effect on population growth, oil-rich countries do not suffer from the Malthusian trap, and overall oil abundance is an economic blessing rather than a curse.

Suggested Citation

  • Anca Cotet & Kevin K. Tsui, 2010. "Resource Curse or Malthusian Trap? Evidence from Oil Discoveries and Extractions," Working Papers 201001, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsu:wpaper:201001
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    File URL: http://web.bsu.edu/cob/econ/research/papers/bsuecwp201001cotet.pdf
    File Function: First version, December 2009
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Markus Brueckner & Hannes Schwandt, 2015. "Income and Population Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(589), pages 1653-1676, December.
    2. Beine, Michel & Bos, Charles S. & Coulombe, Serge, 2012. "Does the Canadian economy suffer from Dutch disease?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 468-492.
    3. Driouchi, Ahmed, 2014. "Testing of Natural Resources as Blessing or Curse to the Knowledge Economy in Arab Countries," MPRA Paper 58598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Flory Dieck-Assad & Ernesto Peralta, 2013. "Energy and capital inputs: cornerstones of productivity growth in Mexico: 1965–2004," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 563-590, April.
    5. Kevin K. Tsui, 2011. "More Oil, Less Democracy: Evidence from Worldwide Crude Oil Discoveries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 89-115, March.
    6. Nuno Torres & Óscar Afonso & Isabel Soares, 2013. "A survey of literature on the resource curse: critical analysis of the main explanations, empirical tests and resource proxies," CEF.UP Working Papers 1302, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    7. Driouchi, Ahmed & Harkat, Tahar, 2016. "Knowledge Economy, Global Innovation Indices, Rents and Governance in Arab Economies," MPRA Paper 73507, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Lifshits, Marina, 2013. "The influence of migration and natural reproduction of labor force upon economic growth in the countries of the world," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 32-51.
    9. David Cuberes & Kevin Tsui, 2011. "Aid and Fertility: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Show?," Working Papers 2011024, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    resource curse; Malthusian trap; oil discoveries;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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