IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Volatility Curse: Revisiting the Paradox of Plenty

  • Frederick Van der Ploeg
  • Steven Poelhekke

The volatility of unanticipated output growth in income per capita is detrimental to long-run development, controlling for initial income per capita, population growth, human capital, investment, openness and natural resource dependence. This effect is significant and robust over a wide range of specifications. We unravel the effects of volatility by opening the black box and conditioning the variance of growth shocks on several country characteristics. Natural resource dependence, physical and institutional barriers to trade and associated policy shocks increase volatility sharply and harm growth through this indirect channel. The robust indirect effect of natural resources through volatility trumps any direct effects on economic development, even if natural resource dependence is measured net of extraction costs. Financial development appears to mitigate the harmful causes of volatility. Our panel data estimation confirms our cross-country results, but we also offer evidence that well developed financial systems amplify the effect of short-term terms-of-trade volatility on macroeconomic volatility.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2616.

in new window

Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2616
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich

Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Miklos Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "Volatility and development," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3743, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Andrew K. Rose & Mark M. Spiegel, 2008. "International Financial Remoteness and Macroeconomic Volatility," NBER Working Papers 14336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 709-51, August.
  5. Philippe Aghion & Philippe Bacchetta & Romain Ranciere & Kenneth Rogoff, 2006. "Exchange Rate Volatility and Productivity Growth: The Role of Financial Development," Working Papers 06.02, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  6. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  7. Deaton, A., 1999. "Commodity Prices and Growth in Aftica," Papers 186, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  8. Adeel Malik & Jonathan R.W. Temple, 2005. "The Geography of Output Volatility," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2005-07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2003. "Institutional causes, macroeconomic symptoms: volatility, crises and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 49-123, January.
  10. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  11. Hausmann, Ricardo & Panizza, Ugo & Rigobon, Roberto, 2006. "The long-run volatility puzzle of the real exchange rate," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 93-124, February.
  12. Ning Ding & Barry C. Field, 2005. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growths," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(4).
  13. Wacziarg, Romain & Welch, Karen Horn, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," Research Papers 1826, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  14. Mirman, Leonard J, 1971. "Uncertainty and Optimal Consumption Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(1), pages 179-85, January.
  15. M. Ayhan Kose & Marco E. Terrones & Eswar S. Prasad, 2004. "How do trade and financial integration affect the relationship between growth and volatility?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  16. Michael Alexeev & Robert Conrad, 2009. "The Elusive Curse of Oil," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 586-598, August.
  17. Ratna Sahay & Luis Felipe Céspedes & Paul Cashin, 2002. "Keynes, Cocoa, and Copper; In Search of Commodity Currencies," IMF Working Papers 02/223, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (Bace) Approach," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 266, OECD Publishing.
  19. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-47, February.
  20. Blattman, Christopher & Hwang, Jason & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2007. "Winners and losers in the commodity lottery: The impact of terms of trade growth and volatility in the Periphery 1870-1939," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 156-179, January.
  21. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link Between Volatility and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 2001. "Natural resources, education, and economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 847-859, May.
  23. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
  24. Frederick van der Ploeg & Steven Poelhekke, 2009. "Volatility and the natural resource curse," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 727-760, October.
  25. William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993. "Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Pesaran, M.H., 2004. "‘General Diagnostic Tests for Cross Section Dependence in Panels’," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0435, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  27. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  28. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2005. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521848053, September.
  29. Brunnschweiler, Christa N. & Bulte, Erwin H., 2008. "The resource curse revisited and revised: A tale of paradoxes and red herrings," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 248-264, May.
  30. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
  31. Philippe Aghion & George-Marios Angeletos & Abhijit Banerjee & Kalina Manova, 2005. "Volatility and Growth: Credit Constraints and Productivity-Enhancing Investment," NBER Working Papers 11349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Jose G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2007. "Fighting against Malaria: Prevent Wars while Waiting for the "Miraculous" Vaccine," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 165-177, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2616. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Klaus Wohlrabe)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.