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Macro Policy Responses to Natural Resource Windfalls and the Crash in Commodity Prices


  • van der Ploeg, Frederick


Policy prescriptions for managing natural resource windfalls are based on the permanent income hypothesis: none of the windfall is invested at home and saving in an intergenerational SWF is dictated by smoothing consumption across different generations. Furthermore, with Dutch disease effects the optimal response is to intertemporally smooth the real exchange rate, smooth public and private consumption, and limit sharp fluctuations in the intersectoral allocation of production factors. We show that these prescriptions need to be modified for the following reasons. First, to cope with volatile commodity prices precautionary buffers should be put in a stabilisation fund. Second, with imperfect access to capital markets the windfall must be used to curb capital scarcity, invest domestically and bring consumption forward. Third, with real wage rigidity consumption must also be brought forward to mitigate transient unemployment. Fourth, the real exchange rate has to temporarily appreciate to signal the need to invest in the domestic economy to gradually improve the ability to absorb the extra spending from the windfall. Fifth, with finite lives the timing of handing back the windfall to the private sector matters and consumption and the real exchange rate will be volatile. Finally, with nominal wage rigidity we show that a Taylor rule is a better short-run response to a crash in commodity prices than a nominal exchange rate peg.

Suggested Citation

  • van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2016. "Macro Policy Responses to Natural Resource Windfalls and the Crash in Commodity Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 11520, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11520

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre JACQUET & Alexis ATLANI & Marwan LISSER, 2017. "Policy responses to terms of trade shocks," Working Papers P205, FERDI.

    More about this item


    absorption constraints; capital scarcity; Dutch disease; Overlapping Generations; permanent income;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)

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