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Distributional Impact of Commodity Price Shocks: Australia over a Century

  • Sambit Bhattacharyya
  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

This paper studies the distributional impact of commodity price shocks over the both the short and very long run. Using a GARCH model, we find that Australia experienced more volatility than many commodity exporting developing countries over the periods 1865-1940 and 1960-2007. A single equation error correction model suggests that commodity price shocks increase the income share of the top 1, 0.05, and 0.01 percents in the short run. The very top end of the income distribution benefits from commodity booms disproportionately more than the rest of the society. The short run effect is mainly driven by wool and mining and not agricultural commodities. A sustained increase in the price of renewables (wool) reduces inequality whreas the same for non-renewable resources (minerals) increases inequality. We expect that the initial distribution of land and mineral resources explains the asymmetric result.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2013-11.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2013-11
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