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Resources, Agriculture, and Economic Growth in Economies in Transition


  • Thorvaldur Gylfason

    (University of Iceland ; SNS - Center for Business and Policy Studies Stockholm)


This paper reviews some reasons why natural resource abundance and extensive agriculture appear to impede economic growth around the world. The paper presents empirical, cross-sectional evidence of various aspects of this relationship in the transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia since 1990. The essence of the argument is that heavy dependence on natural resources and agriculture may result in rent seeking (e.g., corruption) and policy failures (e.g., inflation) and may, moreover, discourage education, external trade, and genuine saving, thereby retarding economic growth. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the policy implications of the analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Thorvaldur Gylfason, 2001. "Resources, Agriculture, and Economic Growth in Economies in Transition," Development and Comp Systems 0012006, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0012006
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; pages: 35 ; figures: included

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 2001. "Nature, Power, and Growth," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 48(5), pages 558-588, November.
    2. Gylfason, Thorvaldur & Herbertsson, Tryggvi Thor, 2001. "Does inflation matter for growth?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 405-428, December.
    3. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1982. "Directly Unproductive, Profit-seeking (DUP) Activities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 988-1002, 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. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 1998. "Output gains from economic stabilization," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 81-96, June.
    6. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
    7. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 1999. "Exports, Inflation and Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1031-1057, June.
    8. Gylfason, Thorvaldur & Herbertsson, Tryggvi Thor & Zoega, Gylfi, 1997. "A Mixed Blessing: Natural Resources and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Edwards, Sebastian, 1998. "Openness, Productivity and Growth: What Do We Really Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 383-398, March.
    10. Gylfason, Thorvaldur & Herbertsson, Tryggvi Thor & Zoega, Gylfi, 1999. "A Mixed Blessing," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 204-225, June.
    11. Auty, Richard M., 1994. "Industrial policy reform in six large newly industrializing countries: The resource curse thesis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 11-26, January.
    12. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1989. "Social Conflict and Populist Policies in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
    14. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
    15. repec:cup:macdyn:v:3:y:1999:i:2:p:204-25 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Cheryl W. Gray & Daniel Kaufman, 1998. "Corruption and Development," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11545, The World Bank.
    17. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • P24 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - National Income, Product, and Expenditure; Money; Inflation
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

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