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Harnessing windfall revenues: Optimal policies for resource-rich developing economies

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  • Rick Van der Ploeg
  • Anthony J. Venables

Abstract

A windfall of natural resource revenue (or foreign aid) faces government with choices of how to manage public debt, investment, and the distribution of funds for consumption, particularly if the windfall is both anticipated and temporary. Standard policy advice follows the permanent income hypothesis in suggesting a sustained increase in consumption supported by interest on accumulated foreign assets (a Sovereign Wealth Fund) once resource revenue are exhausted. However, this strategy is not optimal for capital-scarce developing economies. Incremental consumption should be skewed towards present generations, relative to those in the far future. Savings should be directed to accumulation of domestic private and public capital rather than foreign assets. Optimal policy depends on instruments available to government. We study cases where the government can make lump-sum transfers to consumers; where such transfers are impossible so optimal policy involves cutting distortionary taxation in order to raise investment and wages; and where Ricardian consumers can borrow against future revenues so government only has indirect control of consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Rick Van der Ploeg & Anthony J. Venables, 2011. "Harnessing windfall revenues: Optimal policies for resource-rich developing economies," Economics Series Working Papers 543, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:543
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural resource; Windfall public revenues; Risk premium on foreign debt; Public infrastructure; Private investment; Credit constraints; Optimal fiscal policy; Debt management; Sovereign Wealth Fund; Asset holding subsidy; developing economies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)

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