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Public Capital in Resource Rich Economies: Is there a Curse?

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  • Sambit Bhattacharyya
  • Paul Collier

Abstract

As poor countries deplete their natural resources, for increased consumption to be sustainable some of the revenues should be invested in other public assets. Further, since such countries typically have acute shortages of public capital, the finance from resource depletion is an opportunity for needed public investment. Using a new global panel dataset on public capital and resource rents covering the period 1970 to 2005 we find that, contrary to these expectations, resource rents significantly and substantially reduce the public capital stock. This is more direct evidence for a policy-based ‘resource curse’ than the conventional, indirect evidence from the relationships between resource endowments, growth and income. The adverse effect on public capital is mitigated by good economic and political institutions and worsened by GDP volatility and ethnic fractionalization. Rents from depleting resources have more adverse effects than those that are sustainable. Our main results are robust to a variety of controls, and to instrumental variable estimation using commodity price and rainfall as instruments, Arellano-Bond GMM estimation, as well as across different samples and data frequencies.

Suggested Citation

  • Sambit Bhattacharyya & Paul Collier, 2011. "Public Capital in Resource Rich Economies: Is there a Curse?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2011-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2011-14
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Badeeb, Ramez Abubakr & Lean, Hooi Hooi & Clark, Jeremy, 2017. "The evolution of the natural resource curse thesis: A critical literature survey," Resources Policy, Elsevier, pages 123-134.
    2. Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2012. "Fiscal Institutions in Resource-Rich Economies: Lessons from Chile and Norway," Documentos de Trabajo 416, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    3. Nemera Mamo & Sambit Bhattacharyya & Alexander Moradi & Rabah Arezki, 2017. "Intensive and Extensive Margins of Mining and Development: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Paper Series 0517, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    4. Nouf Alsharif & Sambit Bhattacharyya & Maurizio Intartaglia, 2016. "Economic Diversification in Resource Rich Countries: Uncovering the State of Knowledge," Working Paper Series 09816, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    5. Ramez Badeed & Hooi Hooi Lean & Jeremy Clark, 2016. "The Evolution of the Natural Resource Curse Thesis: A Critical Literature Survey," Working Papers in Economics 16/05, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    6. Anthony J. Venables, 2016. "Using Natural Resources for Development: Why Has It Proven So Difficult?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 161-184.
    7. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:154-164 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ilham Haouas & Raimundo Soto, 2012. "Has the UAE Escaped the Oil Curse?," Documentos de Trabajo 412, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    9. Bhattacharyya, Sambit & Resosudarmo, Budy P., 2015. "Growth, Growth Accelerations, and the Poor: Lessons from Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 154-165.
    10. Rabah Arezki & Sambit Bhattacharyya & Nemera Mamo, 2015. "Resource Discovery and Conflict in Africa: What Do the Data Show?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    11. Anthony J. Venables, 2016. "Using Natural Resources for Development: Why Has It Proven So Difficult?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 161-184.
    12. Bhattacharyya, Sambit & Hodler, Roland, 2014. "Do Natural Resource Revenues Hinder Financial Development? The Role of Political Institutions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 101-113.
    13. Christian von Haldenwang & Maksym Ivanyna, 2017. "Does the political resource curse affect public finance? The vulnerability of tax revenue in resource-rich countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 007, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Frederick van der Ploeg & Anthony J. Venables, 2012. "Natural Resource Wealth: The Challenge of Managing a Windfall," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 315-337, July.
    15. Aktoty Aitzhanova & Shigeo Katsu & Johannes F. Linn & Vladislav Yezhov (ed.), 2014. "Kazakhstan 2050: Toward a Modern Society for All," Books, Emerging Markets Forum, edition 1, number kazakh2050.
    16. Ilham Haouas & Raimundo Soto, 2012. "Has the UAE Escaped the Oil Curse?," Documentos de Trabajo 412, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    17. Sambit Bhattacharyya & Louis Conradie & Rabah Arezki, 2016. "Resource Discovery and the Politics of Fiscal Decentralization," Working Paper Series 08916, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    18. Morten Endrikat, 2017. "Natural resource rents, autocracy and the composition of government spending," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201727, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    19. Nouf Alsharif & Sambit Bhattacharyya & Maurizio Intartaglia, 2016. "Economic Diversification in Resource Rich Countries: Uncovering the State of Knowledge," Working Paper Series 9816, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    20. Cockx, Lara & Francken, Nathalie, 2016. "Natural resources: A curse on education spending?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 394-408.
    21. Bhattacharyya, Sambit, 2013. "Political origins of financial structure," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 979-994.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural resources; public capital;

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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