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The relative richness of the poor? natural resources, human capital, and economic growth

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  • Bravo-Ortega, Claudio
  • de Gregorio, Jose

Abstract

Are natural resources a blessing or a curse? The authors present a model in which natural resources have a positive effect on the level of income and a negative effect on its growth rate. The positive and permanent effect on income implies a welfare gain. There is a growth effect stemming from a composition effect. However, the authors show that this effect can be offset by having a large level of human capital. They test their model using panel data for the period 1970-90. They extend the usual specifications for economic growth regressions by incorporating an interaction term between human capital and natural resources, showing that high levels of human capital may outweigh the negative effects of the natural resource abundance on growth. The authors also review the historical experience of Scandinavian countries, which in contrast to Latin America, another region well-endowed with natural resources, shows how it is possible to grow fast based on natural resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Bravo-Ortega, Claudio & de Gregorio, Jose, 2005. "The relative richness of the poor? natural resources, human capital, and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3484, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3484
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