IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Natural Resources and Global Misallocation


  • Monge-Naranjo, Alexander

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Sanchez, Juan M.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Santaeulalia-Llopis, Raul

    (Department of Economics, Washington University in St. Louis)


We explore the efficiency in the allocation of physical capital and human capital across countries. The observed marginal products can differ across countries because of differences in technology (i.e. production functions) and in distortions (i.e. differences in use of factors) across countries. To identify differences in technology, we use new data and propose a simple method to estimate output shares of natural resources, and thus adjust the estimated marginal products of physical and human capital. With a sample of 79 countries from 1970 to 2005, we find that the world has decidedly moved in the direction of efficiency in the allocation of physical capital, from global output losses around 7% in the 1970s to a still substantial 2% by 2005. This trend is accounted for by domestic capital accumulation, as external flows have had little impact. There is also a large degree of heterogeneity in the net gains across countries. For example, we find larger gains for countries with more interventionist policies. With respect to human capital, we uncover much larger global losses from its misallocation. Indeed, contrary to physical capital, we find that the human capital allocation had worsened over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Monge-Naranjo, Alexander & Sanchez, Juan M. & Santaeulalia-Llopis, Raul, 2015. "Natural Resources and Global Misallocation," Working Papers 2015-13, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2015-013

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William Easterly, 2002. "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550423, July.
    2. Jànos Kornai, 2000. "What the Change of System from Socialism to Capitalism Does and Does Not Mean," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 27-42, Winter.
    3. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Olivier Jeanne, 2013. "Capital Flows to Developing Countries: The Allocation Puzzle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1484-1515.
    5. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
    6. Restuccia, Diego & Urrutia, Carlos, 2001. "Relative prices and investment rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 93-121, February.
    7. Michael Sposi & B Ravikumar & Piyusha Mutreja, 2014. "Capital goods trade and economic development," 2014 Meeting Papers 1374, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Brent Neiman, 2014. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
    9. Ariel T. Burstein & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2009. "Foreign Know-How, Firm Control, and the Income of Developing Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 149-195.
    10. Leandro De Magalhães & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2015. "The Consumption, Income, and Wealth of the Poorest: Cross-Sectional Facts of Rural and Urban Sub-Saharan Africa for Macroeconomists," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 15/655, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    11. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 562-585, June.
    12. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    13. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
    14. Ohanian, Lee E. & Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina & Wright, Mark L. J., 2013. "Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America, 1950-2007," Working Papers 2014-38, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 16 May 2017.
    15. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
    16. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bullard, James B., 2016. "A New Characterization of the U.S. Macroeconomic and Monetary Policy Outlook : a speech at the Society of Business Economists Annual Dinner, London, United Kingdom, June 30, 2016," Speech 271, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    More about this item


    Natural Resources; Factor Shares; Misallocation; Investment; Capital Flows; Human Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2015-013. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kathy Cosgrove). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.