Open Questions about the Link Between Natural Resources and Economic Growth: Sachs and Warner Revisited
What makes the work of Sachs and Warner (1995a, 1997a, 1997b, 1999) distinct from previous pessimistic arguments about the growth potential of natural resources is their reliance on econometric analysis. Our aim is to take the authors’ model specification as given, but we ask the following three questions:1. Is the negative effect of natural resource exports (as a share of GDP) sensitive to the time period used in the analysis? 2. Is this result sensitive to unknown omitted variables? 3. Is this result sensitive to endogeneity problems that afflict the traditional cross-sectional growth regressions? The main findings are that the SW result concerning the alleged negative effect of natural resource exports on growth does not pass the test of time, the NRX effect is probably due to unaccounted countryspecific effects, and dealing with endogeneity issues does not recover the SW result. However, we find that export revenue concentration does have quite a robust negative effect on economic growth. And ab out 50% of this effect is due to the negative correlation between export concentration and intraindustry trade and a positive correlation between export concentration and volatility of the real effective exchange rate.
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