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Optimal Resource Extraction Contracts Under Threat of Expropriation

  • Eduardo Engel
  • Ronald Fischer

The government contracts with a foreign firm to extract a natural resource that requires an upfront investment and which faces price uncertainty. In states where profits are high, there is a likelihood of expropriation, which generates a social cost that increases with the expropriated value. In this environment, the planner's optimal contract avoids states with high probability of expropriation. The contract can be implemented via a competitive auction with reasonable informational requirements. The bidding variable is a cap on the present value of discounted revenues, and the firm with the lowest bid wins the contract. The basic framework is extended to incorporate government subsidies, unenforceable investment effort and political moral hazard, and the general thrust of the results described above is preserved.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13742.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13742
Note: EEE ITI PE
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  1. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2013. "The Basic Public Finance Of Public–Private Partnerships," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 83-111, 02.
  2. Bohn, Henning & Deacon, Robert, 1997. "Ownership Risk, Investment, and the Use of Natural Resources," Discussion Papers dp-97-20, Resources For the Future.
  3. Heaps, Terry & Helliwell, John F., 1985. "The taxation of natural resources," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 421-472 Elsevier.
  4. Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & Ronald D. Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2001. "Least-Present-Value-of-Revenue Auctions and Highway Franchising," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 993-1020, October.
  5. Petter Osmundsen, 1998. "Dynamic Taxation of Non-renewable Natural Resources Under Asymmetric Information About Reserves," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(4), pages 933-951, November.
  6. Salant, Stephen W, 1995. "The Economics of Natural Resource Extraction: A Primer for Development Economists," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 93-111, February.
  7. Boadway, Robin & Flatters, Frank, 1993. "The taxation of natural resources : principles and policy issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1210, The World Bank.
  8. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2007. "The Basic Public Finance of Public-Private Partnerships," Working Papers 957, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  9. Fraser, Rob & Kingwell, Ross, 1997. "Can expected tax revenue be increased by an investment-preserving switch from ad valorem royalties to a resource rent tax?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 103-108, September.
  10. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Fisher, Anthony C, 1981. "Hotelling's "Economics of Exhaustible Resources": Fifty Years Later," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 65-73, March.
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