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Commodity Windfalls, Polarization, and Net Foreign Assets: Panel Data Evidence on the Voracity Effect

  • Rabah Arezki
  • Markus Brückner

This paper examines the effects that windfalls from international commodity price booms have on net foreign assets in a panel of 145 countries during the period 1970-2007. The main finding is that windfalls from international commodity price booms lead to a significant increase in net foreign assets, but only in countries that are ethnically homogeneous. In highly ethnically polarized countries, net foreign assets significantly decreased. To explain this asymmetry, the paper shows that in ethnically polarized countries commodity windfalls lead to large increases in government consumption expenditures and political corruption. The paper's findings are consistent with theoretical models of the current account that have a built-in voracity effect.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2011/wp-cesifo-2011-11/cesifo1_wp3656.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3656.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3656
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  18. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  19. Torsten Persson & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1983. "Current Account Dynamics and the Terms of Trade: Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Two Generations Later," NBER Working Papers 1129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
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  23. Jos� G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
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