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Natural Resources and Education: Evidence from Chile


  • Roberto Alvarez
  • Damián Vergara


This paper empirically addresses the relationship between natural resource abundance and educational attainment. Using information for Chilean municipalities between 2000 and 2013, we exploit aggregate changes in natural resource exports and differences in local markets exposure to these changes to assess whether local specialization patterns may be related with educational outcomes. Our findings indicate that higher natural resource exports reduce educational attainment, in particular by discouraging young people from tertiary education. The effect is robust and quantitatively important. Our findings are consistent with the idea that natural resource abundance may have positive effects in the short-run, but may be detrimental for human capital accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Alvarez & Damián Vergara, 2016. "Natural Resources and Education: Evidence from Chile," Working Papers wp433, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:udc:wpaper:wp433

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Costa, Francisco & Garred, Jason & Pessoa, João Paulo, 2016. "Winners and losers from a commodities-for-manufactures trade boom," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 50-69.
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    9. Stijns, Jean-Philippe, 2006. "Natural resource abundance and human capital accumulation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1060-1083, June.
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    11. Ricardo Hausmann & Roberto Rigobon, 2003. "An Alternative Interpretation of the 'Resource Curse': Theory and Policy Implications," NBER Working Papers 9424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    15. repec:idb:brikps:59538 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Anna Aizer, 2010. "The Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1847-1859, September.
    17. Daniel Lederman & William F. Maloney, 2007. "Natural Resources : Neither Curse nor Destiny," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7183, September.
      • Anthony J. Venables & William Maloney & Ari Kokko & Claudio Bravo Ortega & Daniel Lederman & Roberto Rigobón & José De Gregorio & Jesse Czelusta & Shamila A. Jayasuriya & Magnus Blomström & L. Colin X, 2007. "Natural Resources: Neither Curse nor Destiny," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 59538 edited by William Maloney & Daniel Lederman, February.
    18. Emily Blanchard & William W. Olney, 2013. "Globalization and Human Capital Investment: How Export Composition Drives Educational Attainment," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-18, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Mar 2015.
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