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Left in the Dark? Oil and Rural Poverty

Author

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  • Brick Smith
  • Samuel Wills

Abstract

Do oil booms reduce rural poverty and inequality? To study this we measure rural poverty by counting people that live in darkness at night: combining high-resolution global satellite data on night-time lights and population from 2000-2013. We develop a measure that accurately identifies 74% of households as above or below the extreme poverty line when compared to over 600,000 household surveys. We find that both high oil prices and new discoveries increase illumination and GDP nationally. However, they also promote regional inequality because the increases are limited to towns and cities with no evidence that they benefit the rural poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Brick Smith & Samuel Wills, 2015. "Left in the Dark? Oil and Rural Poverty," OxCarre Working Papers 164, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:164
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    Cited by:

    1. Arkadiusz Piwowar & Maciej Dzikuc, 2020. "Poverty and Social Exclusion: Is this a Problem in Rural Areas in the Visegrad Group Countries?," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(2), pages 45-54.
    2. Gradstein, Mark & Klemp, Marc P B, 2016. "Can Black Gold Shine? The Effect of Oil Prices on Nighttime Light in Brazil," CEPR Discussion Papers 11686, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Zuo, Na & Zhong, Hua, 2020. "Can resource policy reverse the resource curse? Evidence from China," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    4. Graham A. Davis, 2020. "Large-sample evidence of income inequality in resource-rich nations," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 33(1), pages 193-216, July.
    5. Thomas McGregor & Samuel Wills, 2016. "Surfing A Wave Of Economic Growth," OxCarre Working Papers 170, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. John Gibson & Susan Olivia & Geua Boe‐Gibson, 2020. "Night Lights In Economics: Sources And Uses," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(5), pages 955-980, December.
    7. Jaimes, Richard & Gerlagh, Reyer, 2020. "Resource-richness and economic growth in contemporary U.S," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    8. Thomas McGregor & Samuel Wills, 2016. "Surfing A Wave Of Economic Growth," OxCarre Working Papers 170, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    9. Vezina,Pierre-Louis, 2020. "The Oil Nouveau-Riche and Arms Imports," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9374, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    oil; rural poverty; poverty measurement; regional inequality; night-time lights; urbanization;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy

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