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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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  1. Calderon, Cesar & Chong, Alberto & Loayza, Norman, 2000. "Determinants of current account deficits in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2398, The World Bank.
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  9. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "The intertemporal approach to the current account," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 34, pages 1731-1799 Elsevier.
  10. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2006. "The External Wealth of Nations Mark II: Revised and Extended Estimates of Foreign Assets and Liabilities,1970–2004," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp126, IIIS.
  11. Tornell, Aaron & Lane, Philip R., 1998. "Are windfalls a curse?: A non-representative agent model of the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 83-112, February.
  12. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. 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.
  15. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  16. Loayza, Norman & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000. "What drives private saving around the world?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2309, The World Bank.
  17. Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1985. "Current Account Dynamics and the Terms of Trade: Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Two Generations Later," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 43-65, February.
  18. Christopher D. Carroll & Olivier Jeanne, 2009. "A Tractable Model of Precautionary Reserves, Net Foreign Assets, or Sovereign Wealth Funds," NBER Working Papers 15228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Kraay, A. & Ventura, J., 1997. "Current Acounts in Debtor and Creditor Countries," Working papers 97-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  21. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
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  23. Paul Cashin & C. McDermott, 2002. "Terms of Trade Shocks and the Current Account: Evidence from Five Industrial Countries," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 219-235, July.
  24. Lane, Philip R & Tornell, Aaron, 1996. " Power, Growth, and the Voracity Effect," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 213-41, June.
  25. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Indicators 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4373.
  26. 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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