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Exorcizing the Resource Curse: Minerals as a Knowledge Industry, Past and Present

  • Gavin Wright
  • Jesse Czelusta

July 2002 Recent literature argues that natural resource abundance is likely to be bad for economic growth. This paper provides a counterargument by highlighting examples of successful resource-based development. The first is historical: the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth. We show that U.S. mineral abundance was an endogenous historical phenomenon driven by collective learning, increasing returns, and an accommodating legal environment. Recent instances of successful resource-based growth affirm that so-called “nonrenewable” resources can be progressively extended through exploration, technological progress, and investments in appropriate knowledge. Indeed, minerals constitute a high-tech knowledge industry in many countries. Working Papers Index

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Paper provided by Stanford University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 02008.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:02008
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  1. Auty, Richard M., 2001. "The political economy of resource-driven growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 839-846, May.
  2. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1999. "The big push, natural resource booms and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-76, June.
  3. Davis, Graham A., 1995. "Learning to love the Dutch disease: Evidence from the mineral economies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(10), pages 1765-1779, October.
  4. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kim, Sukkoo, 1995. "Expansion of Markets and the Geographic Distribution of Economic Activities: The Tends in U.S. Regional Manufacturing Structure, 1860-1987," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 881-908, November.
  6. Rodriguez, Francisco & Sachs, Jeffrey D, 1999. " Why Do Resource-Abundant Economies Grow More Slowly?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 277-303, September.
  7. Leamer, Edward E. & Maul, Hugo & Rodriguez, Sergio & Schott, Peter K., 1999. "Does natural resource abundance increase Latin American income inequality?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 3-42, June.
  8. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
  9. Stijns, Jean-Philippe C., 2001. "Natural Resource Abundance And Economic Growth Revisited," Berkeley Economics Dissertations-in-Progress Series 25127, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  10. Harris, DeVerle P., 1993. "Mineral resource stocks and information," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1011-1076 Elsevier.
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