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Determinants of Expropriation in the Oil Sector: A Theory and Evidence from Panel Data

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  • Guriev, Sergei
  • Kolotilin, Anton
  • Sonin, Konstantin

Abstract

In this paper we study nationalizations in the oil industry around the world in 1960-2002. We show, both theoretically and empirically, that governments are more likely to nationalize when oil prices are high and when political institutions are weak. We consider a simple dynamic model of the interaction between a government and a foreign oil company. The government cannot commit to abstain from expropriation and the company cannot commit to pay high taxes. Even though nationalization is inefficient it does occur in equilibrium when oil prices are high. The model's predictions are consistent with the panel analysis of a comprehensive dataset on nationalizations in the oil industry since 1960. Nationalization is more likely to happen when oil prices are high and the quality of institutions is low even when controlling for country fixed effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Guriev, Sergei & Kolotilin, Anton & Sonin, Konstantin, 2008. "Determinants of Expropriation in the Oil Sector: A Theory and Evidence from Panel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 6755, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6755
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    nationalization; oil industry; property rights;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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